Missing Someone

Take care, see you later, miss you…

We’ve all said them, we’ve all heard them. But what do they really mean? Are they merely words? Do we really mean them when we say them, or are they a courtesy when we talk to one another? Some expressions are just that – expressions. Just the end of a meeting. just the end of a visit, just words at the end of a letter. Take care. See you later. pretty simple, not much meaning behind them, and not much thought.

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A beautiful tattoo in memory and in honor of Andrew

But. Miss you. That’s all the difference. When you talk to someone you have not talked to in a while, you say it. When you see someone again, you say it. When you write someone an e-mail or a text, you use it all the time. But do you really “miss” them that much? Or at all. You know you are going to see them again. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe next vacation, but they will be there, and you’ll see them again.

But when someone is no longer there, or no longer here, then you learn what the words missing someone really means. Dorothy told me a while ago, through her tears, that she really, really misses Andrew. I thought about it, and so do I. She said that she really learned what the word means now that he is gone, and that missing feeling will go on forever. I guess that is the difference. You can miss someone, but you know they are around. You know you will see them again, you know you can always reach out and touch them.

We can’t. Any grieving parent can’t. Any child who lost a parent that they were close to – can’t. That is really what missing is. That, to us, defines missing someone. That type of missing hurts, it goes down to the soul, it effects you profoundly. Some days that missing consumes us, and we have a hard time getting around it, we have a hard time functioning. Other days we feel it, but we cherish the time before and we smile.

You know you can no longer hug your parent, or your friend. You can’t call your brother or sister to tell them something funny happened to you. You can’t say something to them that  you always wanted to tell them. You can’t reach out to them for advice, as you always did before. That is missing someone. That redefines what it means to miss someone. I had a conversation with a close friend of mine about this. His father passed away a few months ago, and for the first time in his life, he misses someone, truly misses someone. It does not matter how close you were to a person who is gone, just knowing that they are gone, forever, makes missing them all too real. It is no longer just a word.

My father. I miss him every day of my life.

I miss my father deeply. It has been thirty five years, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I have his pictures in my office and on my desk, I look at them every single day – as I am sure most people who have lost a parent do. What would he have been like when he got older? I wonder about his relationship with my children, would he have spoiled them? I wonder how different I would have turned out had I had a father to ask advice to, and to look up to for the past two thirds of my life. I missed him at my high school graduation. I missed telling him when I got my first job, and my first promotion, or started my own business. And most of all, I missed him at my wedding, and the birth of my children – he should have been there. I miss him. I have learned to live with missing my father. It took most of my life to adjust, but I have. I know that fathers pass before their children, and I look around and see my friend’s fathers passing, and I feel so sorry for them, for they will unfortunately learn what missing someone means. And many of them I will miss as well.

I talk to my friends and acquaintances who’s parents are passing, for they know that I have lived through it and survived. I can talk to them from experience, and tell them what has gotten me through my life. And hopefully they can find some solace from what I say.

Then there is a different kind of missing. That of a parent missing a child. That is entirely different.

andrew 1We miss Andrew deeply, down to our souls. The pain of missing him hurts us, not just emotionally, but physically – like a hole in our hearts. But that is a different miss. We miss hugging him every day, and seeing him for breakfast. We miss him being our son, calling us for advice, calling us to say hello, just being here. And it won’t get better, ever. We missed him this past spring when he should have graduated college. We will miss him on every trip we take, and know he should have been there. We will miss him when someone gets married in the family, or when someone passes, he should have been there. We went to Dorothy’s cousins engagement party last month, and although we had a very nice time, it hurt knowing Andrew should have been there. He would have enjoyed the food, spending time with Grandma, and listening to the flowing water – he was missed by many. When we grow old we will miss him. Whatever we do, we miss him.

IFMy great-aunt never let us say ‘goodbye’. She would always correct us to say ‘see you later’.
I miss her a lot. I wonder what she thinks of the expression ‘miss you’.

This journal is dedicated to all those I miss.

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4 thoughts on “Missing Someone

  1. Janie

    Thank you for writing and sharing, Perry. I find writing helps me, too. I miss my dad so much it hurts sometimes. One member of our family on my dad’s side would never say “goodbye” at the end of a meeting; she’d say “I love you” instead.

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  2. susan wallace

    Good Morning, Perry

    I do know the true meaning of missing – when I lost my dad, it was so incredibly difficult… the one thing that kept me going was knowing that he was pain-free as his was a long and painful death. Watching him dwindle away and suffer, yet never complain is imprinted in my memory and tattooed on my heart. But, to this day – nearly 11 years later, I think about him constantly. Watching my mom have to go through losing the love of her life was as if I were living in a parallel universe… she tried hard to stay strong, but it was impossible at times. Then came her death 5 years later. Although she made so much progress in continuing her life, there was a hole in her heart. In over 40 years of marriage my parents never spent one night apart. Hers was a different experience for all of us left behind. The summer prior to her death, we were “prepared” for her passing. She had lung cancer and was in the hospital for months; the doctors told us she would probably not recover and told us to see the social worker… we were somewhat ready for her passing. She too had suffered so much. But, miraculously, she did recover. And, although she was not well for the next year, she was able to do many things she had done in the past. Each day she seemed stronger. But, she talked about missing my father more and more. I often wonder if she “saw” or “spoke” to him when she was in the hospital that summer… When she came home after her recovery, I would stop and check on her daily, and my brother would call her. One day, she didn’t answer the phone. I rushed to her house, called an ambulance, and within 3 hours, she was gone. It made no sense. My mom was my best friend. My brothers and I “decided” she had talked to my dad, and missed him too much and needed to be with him. It is the only was we could wrap our heads around the course of events. My point here is, losing someone unexpectedly is so very different than being prepared. And, I use the word, prepared, lightly.

    The “if they were still here…” thoughts are never-ending. I do not know what it is like to lose a child, but the pain and emptiness I feel from losing my parents – even though it was years ago, is never-ending. In my mind, what you are going through must be what I felt/feel to an impossible level. Although our families were not close in the past, yet the boys were best friends for years, I think about you, Dorothy and Nicole all the time. I think seeing Nicky being so affected by Andrew’s passing has brought my heart closer to your family. I’m happy we are getting together today. In this forum, I reveal my thoughts and feelings to you, so my thinking is not a mystery to you. I do not feel uncomfortable talking with you and Dorothy, because you are aware of so many of my own feelings, and I of yours.

    Your writing is so open, reflective and insightful. As you know, I become more aware of the world around me and my blessings because of what you write. Thank you for sharing your definition of missing. It is incomprehensible until you live it. And so different for everyone based on their experiences…

    See you later…

    Reply
  3. Sally

    Thanks for your touching words, Perry. Only those who have lost a child can understand how deep the pain feels, especially those moments when you miss them so much like I miss Jill. However, I do take comfort in the fact that I can still talk to her even if she can’t exactly respond yet I do feel her around me at times. I hope you feel Andrew, too, somtimes.

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  4. Susan S.

    Beautifully written. I am grateful for your writing about Andrew because it goes beyond what is, or can be, shared at monthly bereavement meetings. We are all so severely wounded, the ache of loss so deep. Your thoughtfulness and love comes through here and are a great comfort to me. Thank you.

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