I’m sure we first met in early childhood, although the details of our first encounter didn’t stick in my memory as much as they did with other important people and things that influenced my life. I suspect we were introduced by my parents, grandparents, or maybe a babysitter. I can’t imagine I got all the way to nursery school without you. You have been in my mind for as long as I can remember.
In reflecting on what we had together, I can admit I was guilty of some classic long-term relationship pitfalls. I rarely expressed gratitude. I took you for granted and didn’t often stop and think about all the little ways your presence enhanced my life. I never forgot how you created easy conversation and smoothed over my embarrassment at a business recruiting lunch that day I had poor aim and a cherry tomato skittled off my plate and with primal reflexes I reached out and caught it, returning it to where it belonged in a mere flash. You taught me sustainability, always advocating the position of not creating undue waste. Without ever being pushy, your consistent presence taught me to take falls with grace, and pick up, rinse or shake off and carry on.
I went through various stages of independence over our many years together. Sometimes I listened to you. Other times, I was adamant that your perspective would not be the one that prevailed. On more occasions than I can count, I second guessed which of us was right, at first deferring to your perspective, then, suddenly, sometimes even mid-meal changing my mind on a decision, ruminating for hours while waiting to see if I made the right one.
No matter how long it was between our encounters, we were always comfortable and familiar enough to fall right back in to our routine. In the most ordinary of moments, it was you that often popped to mind first.
And though I’ve intellectually known that you’ve been gone for a while now, it was just today, while randomly cutting carrots and noticing I’ve gotten no better at it over the last few years, that the weight of the loss of you in my life hit home. A poignant reminder that sometimes we get to choose the changes in our life and other times, we are not offered the choice.
I’ve never really been a fan of platitudes like “this too shall pass” or “when one door closes another door opens”, even when sometimes they proved to be true. Yours is a loss that still feels hard to get past. A loss that seems silly to talk about as to understand our relationship, well, you just had to be there. And yet, what I want to say today is that although this is goodbye, it doesn’t mean you won’t live on in my heart, and in my mind as I wait and watch for my life without you to form.