This week, including as it did the anniversary of thy birth and thy death, was hard. Almost as hard as four years ago, when we'd just lost thee. I suppose I can come up with some explanations. The four of us are each dealing with the passage of time and the slow betrayals of our bodies somehow, and that has us leaning into one another even more. We feel the lack of thy strong shoulder and cheerful support. We were leaning on thee already, more than we realized, when we first lost thee.
Then again, maybe this is just the way grief works. Things circle around again; I assumed it would never get better, just more familiar, but even that prediction is proving false. Any time I start to think I'm making sense of it all, something knocks me sideways again. I keep trying to figure it out though. That's just how my brain works. I speculate, thee would have turned 45 on Tuesday. Do I think that age has some special resonance? Not that I can see. 41, 45, what's the difference? Sure, in ten years I can see myself trying to figure out what thee'd be like at 51, what thee'd be doing with thy days, but 45? Big deal.
I do wonder what thee'd think of the house in Jersey. I still haven't found the right place for that huge globe crystal of thine; few of the windows are both big enough, and well exposed enough to light to make it worthwhile. But I've still got some locations to try. Thy wooden dolphin seems happy there, leaping vigorously in front of Vince's giant flatscreen. A communing of dead brothers: his love of high end electronics and television meets thy love of figurines, nice wood, dolphins, exuberant creatures. Thee would have tried like the dickens to draw Vince out, I have no doubt. Maybe thee would have even succeeded. Thee could be relentless, but it often caused some unlikely friendships to flourish. I like to picture thee managing to talk him into attending a game party. From what his siblings and neighbors tell me, it would have been quite a feat. But if anyone could have accomplished it, it would be thee.
Thee'd love the fact that Bill's sister Laura gave us a frame designed to be filled with wine corks, and turned into a bulletin board. She knew nothing of thy cork fixation, or rather of the fixation thee tormented Mary into forming. I told her the story of course, and she loved it. Bill and I have been adding to the collection regularly; we're almost halfway to filling it. Once it's completed, I'll hang it and put some of thy homemade totems on it, maybe thy picture. That will probably fill the thing up completely; it's not that big, really. Thy various trinkets, gew-gaws and teasing jokes continue to fill into the corners of my life. They don't even have to have belonged to thee originally at this point; stained glass, prisms, wind chimes, jaunty hats, and figurines will always make me think of thee from now on.
Once again I missed the big gathering in Richmond; maybe my present volatility is due to that, and to not having made the time yet this week to observe my own little ritual, eating salad, blueberry pie, and junk food while watching an episode or three of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Bill is always a loving and enthusiastic participant in that. Thee would have liked him a lot; thee probably could even have talked him into playing board games. He likes them too. He's sorry he never got to meet thee.
We love and miss thee, James.