“Just give me a call when you get this message would you please? I’ll talk to you later. Bye-bye.”

You’re everywhere. And I miss you. So to spend time with you, I’ll listen to your voicemails. How did I ever forget your voice had that mid-western lilt in it? Not forget, but not quite remember it like that in my mind.

“Hey sweetie, I just wanted to tell you hello. Don’t worry about calling me back okay? I’ll talk to you later, bye-bye.”

The Christmas decorations smell like you. I told my therapist that was the hardest part of my weekend. I took one decoration that was felt, smelled like you. Ben asked where I wanted to put it and I told him no where, to put it in a Ziploc bag so the smell doesn’t go away. That smell-it’s security. It’s the closest thing to actually feeling you hug me that I have now. I don’t want it to go away. My therapist told me the nicest thing I’ve heard in a while- “That smell, it may not be there next year, but it’s here this year. Don’t worry about next year-get through this year.” So here I sit, breathing in an old felt door hanger, looking like a lunatic, but feeling like I’m whole again.

“Hey, I just wanted to call and tell you Whitney FaceTimed me from England today, her birthday was yesterday, so that was a really good-that’s been a good thing for me. Bye-bye.”

Christmas morning-you were always there. There were no exceptions. Waiting there as soon as we were up, to watch us open presents. That’s the thing about you. Even when I try to think of a life event and where you were, you were always right there. Christmas the year we lived in Colorado, and the Burl Ives cassette tape I can’t believe we didn’t wear out. I played “Snow for Johnny” for Charlotte the other day and she loved it. I wish I could give her the best-sung version, where you sang it slightly off key but always remembered all the words.

“Hey I was just calling to see how the baby is. I’ll talk to you later, bye-bye.”

Christmas Eve, with Dominos or Pizza Hut or Papa John’s, depending on whoever had a coupon. The pizza always late because no one could ever find your condo. The sundaes almost no one but Austyn ate as we got older. The maraschino cherries we’d have to check the date on, just to make sure they weren’t the same jar from last year. The house always warm, because it was cold outside and you were worried one of us would be cold. You didn’t know you were the warmth. You’re everywhere.

“Hey baby I just was looking at Facebook and there was a thing on there about potty training. It says for infants, but it may help introduce something for you. I’ll talk to you later, bye-bye.”

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