October 20th. It's marked in my calendar as D-day, a sad reminder. How has it been three years? They say time heals all wounds, but I don't buy it. Anyone who has experienced loss will agree. Even now, as I write this, I miss Dugee, and the hole in my heart is just as big. Sure, the more minutes I put between myself and that day, the more familiar I get with life without him, but still.

I have a lot of memories from that day. I remember caring too much about the clothes I would wear to the hospital - so trivial in retrospect. I remember how he lit up when I walked into the hospital room, "Hi, Coli." So bittersweet. Those were the last words he would speak to me. I remember being excited to have him home that afternoon, but being so disappointed because the morphine rendered him unconscious. There was no pain. There was no nothing. He just slept (and snored) - all afternoon, all evening, and into the night. I remember getting ready for bed and noticing that his apnea was getting worse. At least he's still breathing. 

But then he wasn't. 

Most days, life goes on as usual. But occasionally, a random wave of emotion will bear down on me and flood my eyes with tears. Because I miss him. It's funny though...I see him everyday. In me. Even as his step-daughter, there are things about me that are undeniably him. I'll drive across town to use a $1.00 coupon; I stockpile toiletries (some of which I take from the hotels I visit) under the sink and under my bed just in case I might need a shower cap and shoe polish someday; I love retrievers more than I care for most humans; and I'd rather be golfing at 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon than stuck behind a desk. I can still hear his voice when I leave the bathroom light on or take too long of a shower, and I can't wait until Thanksgiving so I can drink too much wine and eat 'til I'm miserable. I just wish I were eating turkey and drinking wine with Dugee.

But I can't.

October 20th. A reminder of our fragility. And a reminder to love hard, every second of every day.

Click here to donate to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

12 Responses so far.

  1. Dan says:


  2. Pete VM says:

    Loss lives. Unexpectedly, as time has its way with our days. I like how you remember the little on-going memories that put silver linings around the emptiness when it visits. Enjoy those visits because they are reminders of living. Loss excluded.


  3. Lubna says:

    Hugs from across the seas. When people go, the good part is that they do leave behind happy memories which remain with us forever.

  4. KWade says:

    This made me teat up because I have the same image of my grandmother sleeping because of the morphine, and wishing she could talk and act normal. I also don't believe that time heals all wounds, it simply allows us to grow as people and become who our loved ones would want us to be. Sorry for your loss, but memories will always be there, especially when you write them down like this.

  5. It is said that time heals all wounds. This is true, but it does little to fill the hole that is left in our lives when we lose someone. The best we can do is fill that emptiness with the memories we have of them and how they touched our life and others.

  6. I feel for you, Nicole.

    Sometimes, there are people in our lives that have such an impact that we miss them for every remaining day we have on this planet. It sounds like you had that kind of relationship with Dugee. All I can say is treasure the memories. Keep them alive and they will give you strength to face life's challenges.

  7. Touching!

    It is at times like this I am grateful that we have memories and good ones too. I wish I could say time heals, but I feel it only make us remember more how much we miss them.

    I am glad you have some of him in you and a lot of times that soothes.

  8. This is very touching. It's hard when someone leaves us in that way. Time heals, but there will always be a hole. We just learn to fill in around it. The part that they leave behind is in our memories, for that I am always grateful.

  9. Thank you for sharing. It has been 36 years since my grandpa died. I still remember the day, even the hour that it happened July 4, 1976 at 1 am. The hospital called my grandma and my parents to tell them he didn't have much time. Us kids were taken to a neighbors and my parents with grandma made the 60 mile drive to Kansas City. He died before they got there. The date wasn't just the 4th of July, a day of fireworks, but that year was the countries bicentennial. However, who could shoot fireworks on the day your grandpa died?

  10. BroHawk92 says:

    WOW! Very powerful Nicole! You have tongue tied me (which is hard to do)!

  11. Carole says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Very poignant and beautiful story about grief and loss. Anyone who has gone through it can surely relate to it as well as the surge of emotions that can erupt unexpectedly even after a few years. Hang in there.
    Best regards,

  12. Thanks for being so authentic Nicole. Losing someone you love is always so tough. What is neat is that the memories that the two of you built together...Those will neve go away...the pain will over time.

Leave a Reply