Happy Birthday, my Uncle Tim.
Time doesn't heal yet. The shock of your death is gone and I know, with a sinking, heavy, trap-door feeling in the bottom of my heart that you are not coming back. I will never see you arguing with Todd at family holidays. We will never climb another mountain together, standing on top of the world and feeling alive. You will not be the reckless Sheriff of BANG! who blows himself up with dynamite in the second round. We will not go running, camping, boating. You will never approve or disapprove of the guys that may or may not choose to hang around.
No, time is making things worse, more real. I don't want to wake-up; I want to believe that our family gatherings will inexplicably pull you from your dark hiding like a moth to the light and you will suddenly be with us again. Instead, there is an underlying silence that was once filled with your laugh. A disjointed confusion sits in the room like a white elephant: elusive, blurry around the edges, and something that everyone feels but nobody wants to mention.
Staying asleep helps a little.
This week you have been in my dreams. Trembleys are on the family trip, trying to get on with life after your death. We do things, we cry, we fight with each other. Through it all, we know that you are dead. We board a boat and when I look back to check on my parents, you are there with your arm around aunt Kim. She is crying, looking at the ocean and thinking about you. You are holding her. Then you look at me. You turn and look at me and smile. You see me. and you smile.
I wake up thinking that regardless of what happens, if my dead uncle turns to me and smiles, perhaps I am not so worthless or despicable. This fight -through trauma, depression, rejection, and grief- could be worth the return of myself. I hear journeying from the afterlife is not done easily- much like the journeying through life. And yet you were there. Tangibly. Smiling.
I miss you. Happy Birthday.