Last week’s “Jennie Day” marked 15 months since we lost Jen. Soon it will be two years, and then five. As this time goes by, I think about all the things Jen will miss…general life things like learning to drive, getting a job, going to college, maybe getting married and raising a family of her own. This year would have been the first Presidential election she would have voted in. There are also specific life events that really bring the point home. In April we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our extended family, and we will welcome another beautiful baby girl in December. These are happy family events, but I cannot help but feel a little bitter at the fact that all these things are happening without Jen here to enjoy them. She would have loved these girls, and some are convinced Jen’s spirit is still forcing itself into the picture. The photo that accompanies this post was taken at Miss Charlie Lynn’s Christening, with Susan holding the guest of honor in her lap while juggling her phone. At the moment I took the photo, Charlie must have hit the phone’s home screen button and Jen’s smiling face came into full view – you can see it clearly. This was both a beautiful moment and a jarring reminder of what was missing.
Obviously, this is not unique to me or our family. Charlie is the first grandchild on either side of her family, but her maternal grandfather, her namesake, is also missing. My own father passed away decades ago, and never had the chance to meet my wife or any of his grandchildren. He would have loved watching his grandsons play basketball, and I think would have relished the chance to match wits with Susan, as he did with his own daughter, my sister (who often says Dad would have met his match in Susan). He missed out on giving his daughter away at her wedding, and missed his sons’ weddings as well. Beyond sadness, the injustice of it is infuriating.
Life must go on for all of us who are left, of course. It’s just too easy to feel stuck while everything else is moving forward.