Every July 15th for the last 6 years, I've put up a memorial of sorts on my blog, a picture of A and a few comments, or perhaps a link to a song. Every year, my regular readers tend to ignore it entirely and say a very loud nothing to me about it, and my widow friends generally don't need a reminder, and have usually already sent me supportive messages, because they're understanding and cool like that. We are there for each other, and I am grateful again and again that that's the case.
In anticipation of Sunday, then, in search of a photo to use this year that I haven't already used, I was looking through pictures. I have a hundred and some; I wish there were more. I intended to have more--I intended to have years' worth of new ones added to the collection. It's been awhile since I took the time to look at each of them, carefully. It didn't take long before there were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
He was real. He was really here. I have the photographic evidence: the freckles that covered every bit of my beautiful Black Irish man that ever saw the sun, the wrinkles on his neck, the abundant salt with just a dash of pepper yet in his hair, his sweet smile, and the frown when he was concentrating.
Sometimes he seems so out of reach, so long gone, more dream than memory. Sometimes the gap of 6 years and whatever self-protective mechanisms are in play just isn't something I can bridge. And then I see him in photos as he really was, not the vague ghost in my head, and he's right here, and I fall in love with him at 15 millionth sight. It happens every time.
He was here, and he was beautiful, and we loved each other so much, and so well. I miss him beyond the telling.