I was planning on only blogging about photography, and that will still be my focus. But this letter needs a home. A place to be read. A place to be shared. Because I can’t share it with the one it is for.
It was harder than I thought. Being in your home without you. As I put on my makeup, I waited for you to walk down the hall in your nightgown, and tell me good morning. But you didn’t come. And the home felt . . . empty.
It felt empty as I got breakfast ready because for my entire life you have gotten me breakfast whenever I visited. Cut-up fruit. Apples, oranges, bananas. I could always count on that. Sometimes you would just set out cereal with the fruit, and sometimes you’d cook something. Like those scrambled eggs you made several years ago. My mom and I still talk about them. I’ve never had eggs like that before or since, no matter how many times I try to copy them. I’ve gotten close, but they’re never quite right.
It felt empty as I walked from room to room. I saw your newspapers. Rolled up and unread. Not the familiar mountain of open papers. I saw your photo albums you make for each of the grandkids as a graduation gift, and I realized that the several remaining on the shelf will never be finished by you. I saw all your knick-knacks and souveneirs, the decorations I’ve been used to my entire life, and while they reminded me of you, they weren’t you.
This makes it sound like you are gone. You’re not. You are still here with us, and I was able to put my arms around you and talk with you while I visited you at the care center. So you are still here with us.
But at the same time, you’re not.
Your memory has been going for years. We’ve all known it. But Friday was the first time I’ve ever visited you, and you didn’t quite know who I was.
Saturday was the second.
Sunday was the third.
Thankfully, beautifully, wonderfully though I still felt your love. You didn’t know my name, you didn’t know whose daughter I was, but you loved me. That’s something I’ve always admired. Your love. All of those times people have showed up on your doorstep unannounced, you loved them each and every time. You welcomed everyone with joy and made them feel at home. So while your memory isn’t fully there, at least the love is.
The love for my daughter who has always felt a special connection with you.
The love I have felt my entire life.
The love of your family, each and every one.
You have already forgotten that we visited you this weekend. You probably forgot the moment we left. But I hope, somehow, you’ll remember our love.