“. . .one more that won’t make the reunion . . .”
by Weston Smith
Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Loss.
by Sarah J. Bartholomew
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Our family reunions have laughter, most of the time, until tears are streaming down faces and the dogs get too excited, and they start jumping all around until we have to let them out into the yard to cool down. Then usually, not long after, another inside joke is born that’ll resurface at Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and everyone’s birthdays.
It won’t be the same now that you are gone.
Your birthday was only two and a half weeks ago.
We are grateful to have been granted one last celebration of you, with you, one last time. But your name won’t leave our lips just because you will not be at any more reunions.
I’ll continue to not understand people who seem less moved by a death just because someone lived a long life. While I am glad you fought against the tests of time for an incredible one hundred and one years, I have never known a life without you. And suddenly, I have been transported into this other life and there is no going back.
Just two and a half weeks ago, I knelt down by your side and read aloud your birthday cards because your hands shook and your eyes were aged far longer than our wine. I met your best friend, Mike, who still lives in the room next to yours. I will hug him for you at the funeral.
Death breaks my heart every time. Though no memories are necessarily lost, I know the memories, like photographs, will transform into mental sepia polaroid squares before I realize what is happening.
You are no longer here.
We can be happy that the rest of us are living, but why can’t we first stop and cry?
If I want to cry, I want to cry.
Not only because you are gone and I’ll never again hear you tell me stories of your deployments, not just because you were the last living family member of mine who also served and now I have a weird feeling of loneliness.
But because, just as the photos of your teenage years have grown aged and brown, so also will my memories of you and I.