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.
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.
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.
We 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.
This journal is dedicated to all those I miss.