Mostly packed for my trip to Iowa. I’ll finish the rest in the morning. Then I pick up the rental car and I’ll be on my way by early afternoon.

This is going to be… Lots of tears, I’m sure. It’s not fair Russ isn’t here to do this. I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since he died. I just…can’t. I can still feel his shirt under my hands as we danced at our friends’ wedding a few weeks before he died. I can still feel the way his beard and mustache felt against my cheeks when we kissed good-bye that last day, that late Monday morning. I can still feel him hugging me.

And now I’m driving over a thousand miles to spend time with his family, who’s adopted me. But he’s not here.

He’s not here.

And he should be and it’s so fucking unfair.

Life goes on. I feel like it’s flowing past me like a river and trying to rip me free where I’ve got my fingers dug into the bank trying to hold on and stay there, right there, but it’s pulling me away. And Russ is always going to be there, and the last time I saw him alive will be him standing there next to his car and smiling, blowing me a kiss and waving good-bye to me. He will always be THERE on that river bank.

And life moves on. The current tugs until I know I will have to quit fighting and let it carry me back into the river of life.

I know this has to happen because if I keep holding on and refuse to let go, I’m going to drown right there. It’ll wash over my head and pull me under, suck me down.

And I know that’s not what Russ wants. It’d never be what he’d want me to do. He sends me messages and signs all the time, multiple times a day. He comes to me in my dreams. I talk to him and he answers me, in his way. He’s still taking care of me in the only ways he can. He nudges and steers and sometimes downright pulls and drags me the way he wants me to go and sometimes it makes me so damned ANGRY, not at him but at how unfair it is.

And other times, I just shake my head and laugh even as I cry because it’s just so…HIM. My control-freak engineer, my sweet Viking. Taking care of me. Always.

Still.

And I know that even as I’m carried away and leave him on that bank he’s also still with me, just…changed. And I know he wants me to take in the scenery on this new journey and he promises me that one day I’ll see him again. Just…not yet. One day.

But until that day, I know I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. One awkward, splashing, dog-paddle at a time.

It’s been seven months but fuck it feels like forever.

I love you, Russ. Sweet dreams, baby. 🥰💖😘

7 months.
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