Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday you were here, and then I realize just how long it has been. How much has happened.... how much has changed... and how much we've all been missing you.
I looked for a picture of me and you for this blog, and I realized I don't have any here - they're all in Alabama. And the more I thought of it - I realized I don't have very many pictures of us at all. All the "big events" that you take important pictures of children and their grandmothers at... well, you weren't there for those. My high school graduation. My college graduation. And of course.... my wedding day.
You're missing from all those pictures. And you were missing from so many special days. There was a void because you weren't there. And sometimes, that still makes me angry.... because I would've given anything to have you there! 60 was much too young to die... although, at 17, I didn't realize just how young 60 was. And at 17, I didn't realize there would ever be a day when you weren't here. I wish I had cherished our time together so much more. I am struggling these days to hang on to some of my memories of you that seem to be fading.
I wish you could've been there for all my important days! You would have loved to watch the AU Singers perform - I know you would have been there front and center at every show I was in! You always loved music. You would have just been "tickled pink" (to use your words) the day I won my first Miss America Organization title, and I know you would have worn my pin and held a sign every night at the Miss Alabama pageant (both years!) You always were my biggest fan!
Most of all though, I wish you could've been there for my wedding day. You would like Rusty a lot - he makes me laugh (and you loved to laugh!), he's handsome (you never approved of guys who weren't "good looking enough"), and he doesn't have any tattoos or earrings - haha! April 18th would have been a special day for us. You would have loved all the music in our ceremony - all the singers and musicians were so talented! And you would have loved wedding planning with me and Mom, and dress shopping with us. We missed you a lot on the day we picked out "the dress".
I think of you a lot as a married woman.... there are so many things I wish I could talk about with you! I wish I could've shown you our first home. You'd really like the cool air in Michigan! I think you might have wanted to move in and spend your summers with us! I'm sure you'd like our dishes - since I found that old brown pitcher of yours that just happens to match them perfectly. (I couldn't have planned it better!) That pitcher is on display in my kitchen now. Every time I see it I remember a spring afternoon when I was arranging daffodils in it for your kitchen table. You told me I really "had a knack for that" flower arranging. I think of you and smile now each time I cut and place flowers in any arrangement.
I really should stop typing this sappy letter... especially since I've been crying since I wrote the first paragraph. I really thought that in time, I wouldn't miss you so much! That maybe, as the years passed, the pain would lessen. But it isn't true at all... the pain has become more bearable, and my life has gone on, but the void is still there.
No one ever takes the place of someone you love, and nothing can erase what they meant to you. Today, 10 years have passed, but I still miss you. I guess, I should be thankful for that - because it proves how special you were to me. All it takes is the sound of a certain song... the sight of a yellow daffodil... or the scent of a "fireball cherry pie" and I think of you. Your memory comes rushing back and I find myself sharing a story about you with my husband - either laughing or crying through it! I've missed you terribly lately... I guess because I knew this day was coming up.
We all miss you. Nothing is the same without you here!
We all think of you, even though you're gone. When I'm having a bad day or I'm not feeling well, I always remember what you used to say, "Just get up, get ready, and put your makeup on, and you'll feel better!" And you know... usually I do ;) I think of you and your love of life often.... the way you were always smiling or laughing or singing. I think of the fact that I got my voice from you, and I'm thankful. I daydream about when I have children, and how I'll teach them all your sweet little songs.... especially the one you always sang to me! "Oh, You Beautiful Doll".... I never realized until a few years ago how much you sounded like Rosemary Clooney! I hear her sing and I close my eyes and it's you.
You were such a special part of so many lives. I don't know why you had to go when you did.... and I'm not sure I'll understand it this side of heaven. All I know is that we were lucky to have you as long as we did. I hope that I keep the sparkle in my eyes that you had until your very last day. We love you! We miss you! I can't wait until the day I can see you again. We have a lot to catch up on you know! ;)