When I close my eyes, I can picture you. The softness of your skin, the part of your hair, the way your eyelashes always curled so effortlessly, in a way I always admired. I can see the wrinkles on your hands, hear the tenderness of your voice. I can almost feel your fine hair between my fingertips, and your tired eyes looking up at me, telling me you love the way it feels to be touched with such love.
Sometimes I wonder what you’re doing up there, if you’re causing a ruckus with that spitfire attitude of yours, if you’re wandering, quiet, your nose in a book, or if you’re silently keeping tabs on me.
I remember that first night you didn’t come over, and how empty the house felt without your laugh filling the spaces.
I remember when I graduated high school I thought of you, wondered what it would be like to see you in that crowd, to feel your arms around my shoulders, to laugh with you instead of in remembrance of you.
I remember the photograph we took at Christmas, the first one after you were gone and I wasn’t sure where to stand anymore, or how we could still be whole with you no longer in the picture.
Sometimes I wonder how you are in Heaven, if you’re making friends and telling jokes like you always did. If you’re teaching all the old folk how to play Solitaire and Rummy, if you’re running around kicking soccer balls like you did back in Brazil, if you’re holding all the babies on your lap and rocking them to sleep.
Sometimes I wonder if you’re saving a place for me. If you’ve secured me a little corner, one with flowers and sunshine and a journal on a blanket in the grass.
Sometimes I wonder if you laugh at my silly prayers, my stupidity, my naiveté.
Sometimes I wonder if you can hear the wishes from my lips before I say them, if you’ve known, all along, what I’m aching for and how much I’ve missed you.
Sometimes I wonder if you hear me when I pray, when I cry, when I sin.
Sometimes I wonder what you look like. Will I always see you with the white hair, tired smile, fingers so worn down they no longer have fingerprints? Will I see you as your best self, your twenty-something mess of brown hair and a young man’s ring on your finger? Will I see you as your mother did, a five-year-old with sweet pigtail ribbons and rosy chap-stick on her lips?
Will I recognize you when I see you?
Will you still remember me?
Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I picture Heaven, the rays of light poking through the sky, the majesty of all that’s unexplored. I imagine you up there, making cotton candy out of clouds, singing those old hymns you always loved, smiling down on me, on us.
I hope, no matter how long the time between now and until I see you again, you don’t forget the way we laughed, the Halloweens we all dressed up and wandered the streets, the Sunday mornings at church where we belted out our favorite lyrics.
I hope, no matter how wonderful Heaven is, you still think of me. And know that I love you, all the way from where I’m standing on earth, missing you.