I smirked a little typing that... Wish you were here ... Makes me think of old timey, beachy postcards... Which made me think of the time you and I were poking around in one of our favorite little shops and we found this quirky stationary and started lamenting that no one writes letters anymore. It's such a shame, we said. Like when you die, I won't have any correspondence (Who says that in everyday conversation? Apparently me?) between the two of us. People don't save their emails or text messages. And even if you did, it would just be written in this informal type that gives no window into the human soul like authentic handwriting can.
Huh... I said that. I said, "When you die, I won't have any written words between the two of us.... We ought to start writing one another letters, like they did in the good ol' days..." "Yeh, we should," you said, "but who has time for that? Maybe one day...." Gosh. That was probably a little over a year before you were diagnosed, maybe two before you did die. If only we'd known....would we have taken the time to write one another? Who knows...
What I know is we didn't. What I know is I have very few things that actually have your handwriting on them, one of which is a short grocery list written on a tiny hot pink sticky note, stuck to my red beans and rice recipe. Every time I reach for that recipe, there your note is, almost mocking me because while I know you wrote it when you were sick, I can't remember the circumstances or the specifics of that particular day.. Like did we go to the store together that day, what was the weather like, what did we watch on tv that night, what did we talk about, how long was I there for, and on and on...such minor things but, oh, how I wish I could remember.
Another is a list of memories you had written down to share at our wedding rehearsal dinner. You didn't finish it so you read it that evening in its incompleteness and said you would finish it up over the summer and give it to me then. Except you didn't. You didn't get to finish it. And truth be told, I happened upon it, tucked behind some little tchotkes on a shelf in your bedroom, when I was cleaning one day. And something inside me said - take it. Take it home. Take care of it and when she gets better give it back to her to finish. Except I didn't. Because you didn't get better and now you can't finish it.....
I wish I could write you, Jen. I wish you could write me back. If I could write you a letter tonight, this is what I would say...
I love you. I love you in the only way your sister could. I love you different than Lindsey loves you, though, because she and I are different and the relationship, the friendship, I had with you was different.
I miss you. I miss you every single day. Every single one. Can you believe it? There is not one single day that goes by that I don't think of you and miss you terribly. Does that sound trite? Cliche? You know, I don't really care if it does. Because its positively true. The ache is different day to day. Sometimes it's a dull, almost numb, ache. Sometimes it's a sharp and painful ache. But I go along... day by day... week by week... month by month... *And now it's years that separate me from you.
I wish you could come and visit. I'd introduce you to Fowler. You would think he's the best. And then of course you met Mac but you could get to know him, and you would see that he's the best too...and so very much like you. I'd tell you all about Lindsey and Eli and Dottie and the new baby Jenny Clay, named after you! And I know Matthew would love to see you. He loved you. He told me the other day how much he wishes he had gone to Nashville to stay with you when you were sick, to help you, to be there for you. I told him how much you would have loved that, how much it would've meant to you.
I'd show you around the house, our grandparents' 1940s home. We could talk about when Grandaddy would play hide and seek with us and about the time we ate so many King Leo peppermint sticks we got horribly sick and also about the time Granny practiced baptizing (by submersion!) our little Presbyterian fannies in the front den while Grandaddy watched the Sunday afternoon race. We could talk about Fowler's upcoming birthday party, what I should get him, what I should get the boys for their Easter baskets, what they should wear for Easter ... You would be full of ideas and have the best ones, I know. Nobody cares to talk about that kind of stuff with me, ad nauseam, the way you did. You always indulged my selfish me, me, me talk.
I have a confession to make - I have prayed for The Lord to deal with my selfishness. I'm so miserably self-absorbed and no one felt the effects of my wretched, me-oriented world more than you (and perhaps Matthew ;). I'm sorry for my selfishness. I'm sorry I was concerned more for me than for you. I'm sorry I did not love you sacrificially. I'm sorry for the hurt I caused you, and I know I did. I wish I could wipe it all away. I am thankful for The One we love who has wiped it all away.
On that note, enough about me.... Tell me about you... How are you? What is it like? Who have you gotten to see? Where do you live? In a house? In a mansion? Just off a street paved with gold? How is the food? What do you do everyday? How do you feel? Are you laughing because my questions are so short-sighted and silly? ...Most importantly, what is He like? Do you even have the words? Can you find a way to describe him in a way that my finite mind and rotten heart can understand, can grasp? Oh please! Tell me all that you can and don't leave out one single part! The greatest and the sweetest and the deepest longing of all my life is to be there with Him... My life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while and then it's gone. It will not be long until I am there. How I pray The Lord will prepare me for it while I am here and prepare the ones I love most dearly. How I pray He will use me as His vessel to bring more into His heaven.
I love you, Jen. See you soon.