A few weeks back I was sitting in a park sipping on a berry white mocha with a dear friend when she brought up the fact that I no longer write about Charlie. She asked me “Do you not love him anymore AJ? Do you not miss him anymore?” The thing about loss is we never stop loving or missing someone. There are moments where I wish he would just pop up and start spewing advice that I don’t think I need. Charlie will always be apart of me and there is no removing him from my story. Charlie showed me and taught me what love was. He allowed me to put faith into another human being, he allowed me to move in a space that I didn’t even understand. The greatest lessons, those lessons came after his death. Ruin is a gift, it allows us to travel the road of transformation.
Earlier in the summer I sat at my sister’s kitchen table playing connect four with Sophia. As I dropped my black checker in the slot, I studied her face, how excited she was, how she knew she was about to win (I let her win), and about how Charlie would give anything to be here. I quickly wiped my tears away so she wouldn’t see and plopped the checker in the slot. It had been three years since I played a game of connect four and I could have sworn Charlie was in the room with us. I thought about Charlie as I held my nephew in my arms, about how he got cheated out of holding his brother Coleman’s babies and of how those babies got cheated out of an uncle.
Life it is unfair, there is no way around that fact, life is not kind to the soul. Some of us have to travel roads littered with loss, while others travel road littered with promise and certainty. I will take the harder road, because on that road I am living, as in truly living. Uncertainty reminds me to live in each moment, to breath in each moment, and to appreciate each day I am allowed to face the sun. No ones tomorrow is promised, all of us are ticking clocks and only fate knows when the last hand will strike. Almost dying taught me to live this way, to live in the here and now and to travel on the road less taken. Losing Lucia taught me that it was ok to be angry with God and it also reminded me that God knows what he is doing.
God does not desert us in the muck of our lives, he stays the course and sees that we come out of the muck changed. Losing Lucia prepare me for losing my second pregnancy. This time I was not angry, in it I found hope. The doctors were wrong. I have hope. Hope, that my body can and will support a growing pregnancy. It was a genetic accident, two sperm fertilized one egg and it just wasn’t meant to be. I walked away from this with faith that my 3rd time and Jay’s 2nd time will be the charm.
Charming, that is one word to describe Charlie, he had his quirks and his skills, but in the end he was charming. He took a broken woman and loved her back to health. In away I think Charlie knew that fate was not on his side and that he was preparing me to be another man’s wife. He died loving me and for that I am forever grateful. Charlie taught me to believe in love again and he reminded me of how to love someone. I had to learn how to love myself before I could love another person. I had to heal myself before I could even think about helping someone else heal. I had to just be, to just be in the moment and love being alone with the person in the mirror.
Love, I never lost her she was always there waiting in he shadows and when I was ready I opened my heart. Fate had a hand, an opportunity to love fell into my inbox on Veteran’s Day. That one email lead me to Jay, a man that I love and understand with all of my heart. His ability to be raw and open is what captured my heart. He is not perfect, then again no buddy is, yet he was exactly what I needed. Jay slipped a silver band on my finger in a motel swimming pool, in that moment his eyes were brimming with love and fear. We all fear what we cannot see, or touch or know, yet in those moments of fear we let the light and love shine through. In those moments we become our best selves and open our hearts to those around us.
Charlie is always with me and a part of my heart will always belong to him. Even thou he is dead, Charlie is still teaching me from the grave. Every now and then I look up at the stars and whisper the constellations to a man I cannot see. That man will be honored when I marry Jay, when we give our future child the middle name Rae, when I take Sophia to Paris and each day that I live the best life possible. Charlie would want me to be happy. Charlie would want me to live a life outside of the shadow of grief and to have the love that he never got to have. An I am doing just that, I am fine with the fact that change is constant and that I cannot control fate. I am deeply in love, I am hopeful, and I am present in this life.