I'm not sure how to handle it, our chimney-side exchange.
He’s just learning to read, but I’m fairly certain he doesn’t have to sound this one out.
Celia, he says, with a question mark at the end. He whispers her name like he wishes the word could do more than fill the air between us. I hear it with the same hunger.
Her stocking stares up from the storage tote, a silent rebuke of his sisterless state. This should not be our dilemma, what to do with an oversized, monogrammed sock. Our concern should be over what to stuff it with, which shade of lip gloss she'd want, whether she'd hope for polka-dot tights or practical jokes, how the hell to store all those tiny rainbow loom rubber bands. But I wonder what I should do with it - hang it up, throw it away, sleep with it under my pillow, save it for posterity. I find myself feeling indecisive. And feeling vulnerable, the way that loss still strikes unheralded and vicious. I am shocked at the ferocity of my envy, my misery, my missing.
Surely it’s not about her being dead, I tell him, but about how alive her memory remains.
I'm trying to convince myself as much as my son.
I had already written most of this post when the computer pinged to make me aware of a new email message. The note shared several ways the author was reminded of Celia this season, just a short, thoughtful list to show that other people remember her too. I've decided to print it and put it in her stocking. Filling it with good memories may be the best option.