Today, Michael bought me flowers.
I wasn’t sure why at first. Why should he remember this day? I hadn’t brought it up and he didn’t known me back then. But they were there, sitting on my dresser with a happy sticky note.
A gentle reflection, kinder than the litany of memories refusing to cease fire in the cinema of my mind this morning.
In rapid fire sequence, these frames continue to play:

The phone call I got from Aaron.
[He never calls me, I thought, so when I answered I blurted out “hey, I passed you on the road!”
“Dad fell,” came the strangled voice from the man I have always looked up to.]
Sinking to my knees on the floor of my apartment and talking my brother and my mom through CPR.
Lucas, there to help out with harvest, insisting that I start to pray.
The memory of telling my sister. Over the phone, because she was at work, and being unable to hug her. Her disbelief.
Rob’s phone call. The most significant. On the impossibly long car drive home. We sat, connected through the miles, in silence.
Megan’s comment about us walking him down the exact same aisle the same day he walked her down the aisle a few years before, to marry Andrew.
Nolan waving his motorcycle wave at Dad the last time, his brow creasing in concern that grandpa wasn’t waving back.
How Aaron really hugged me in church…

This morning marks two years since I lost my dad.

Again, selfishly, I am going to steal from Rob:
He said that funerals, in a sense, are easy. You already know what to do. And in your consolation, you know intimately the three days of frozen hell the departed’s family has seen. You’ve met with the priest. You’ve picked the casket. When the time comes to hug or shake hands, you can provide empathy.
Unexpectedly, the weddings are the hardest. That was something that wasn’t in the manual. Weddings should be the escape. When done well, they are the furthest thing from tragedy; rare, pure afternoons of celebratory bliss where the mortal weights can be surrendered. They are good music and picture-perfect bridal parties, flower girls and fully inebriated dancing.

A very close friend of mine recently got married. And as it always does, during the father daughter dance, the weight of what I had lost became all that I knew.
Knowing that that was one thing I will never, never have.
That walk down the aisle.
That particular dance.
And my brother and sister are each picking out new baby names. That is something else I get to miss out on him seeing of mine. How jealous I am of my siblings and their time with my dad.

Last year I was lucky enough to get to know Michael’s grandma, briefly, and that loving, wonderful woman had the nerve to worry about me – how I would feel, getting close to someone very sick.
How utterly selfless she was.

And the strongest, most influential person I know has finally decided she likes to travel. This year, my mom is in Italy, like she always dreamed.

I wish he could see us all now. I landed what is still, after two years, my dream job and have met the most wonderful guy. Megan and Aaron are having more beautiful, intelligent babies who will no doubt “speak Mandarin” for the first 10 months, like he always claimed.
The house got a new coat of paint.
And we finally sold his truck.

Last year, I had pieces of paper.
…but today, Michael bought me flowers.