Seventeen…

The air here is cold.  Colder than I remember.  I stepped out of the airport and was met with a bitter cold wind.  The kind that rips through every layer of clothing you wear and settles in -deep within your bones.  It’s cold.  Colder than I remember when I walk through the doors of the house.  The house that I haven’t been in for three plus months…even longer than that.  The house that the last time I saw it -really saw it, really lived there -things were ok.  They weren’t perfect, they weren’t even really good -but they were ok.  And I was ok with ok.  Ok was ok.

I’ve avoided birthdays this year.  Avoided them like the hot plague.  Avoided them with everything in me, and then some.  I ignored them too.  Did everything in my power to not remember, not acknowledge and simply not recognize them.  Them.  Birthdays.  A harsh reminder of what no longer is, who, no longer is.

Life lately, seems cold.  Colder than I remember.  The kind of cold that settles deep, deep within your bones.

I did everything I could to avoid today.  Everything around me seemed to be supporting this.  The daily calendars in most of the places I visited still read December 11.  And I was ok with that.  I didn’t need to be reminded that today was December 12, and I didn’t need to be reminded of what it meant.  I didn’t need another reminder -because reminders are everywhere.

They are in your room, in your bed.  They are in your closet.  They are even by the front door -where you shoes still sit.

I know it is probably morbid sounding.  But listen -the last time I was here -you were still coming home.  You were still holding out, still giving the false illumination that there was hope, that you were wanting to come home.  You.  Were still here.  So your shoes -they are still here too.

There is no harsher reminder -birthdays or not -then walking through the front door of a house you haven’t been in for a number of months to see the way things USED to be, and realize they are no longer that way.

See -I’ve been frequenting other houses for the past…probably nine months now.  House sitting, house hopping -whatever you call it, I haven’t been “home” for a number of months.

Coming home, coming back to this land -was hard enough.  Facing reality, pulling on the “I’m great, how are you face?” has been a challenge enough…but to walk into the home that was perfectly preserved -a chunk in time, reserved -was more than hard.

I have tried, really hard, not to be upset with you for the way things have ended.  Because as hard as it is to accept, it really is easy to understand.  But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been upset.  I know you did what you had to do, I know that.  I know you couldn’t see any other way -I get that.  I know that you felt so far buried beneath everything that there was no way out -I understand that.  I do.  I just don’t understand why it couldn’t have been enough -as selfish as that sounds.

I really don’t have any words this year -I have even less than I did last year.  Less answers, less ideas, less hope, and less words.

I know you think your life really didn’t matter -regardless of what you would have said -your actions have spoken louder.  You didn’t think anyone would care.  Or mind.  Or be bothered.  I don’t hold it against you.  Because as I have said many, many times -I do understand, to an extent, the rush of thoughts that swirl through your head.  To an extent.  Because I obviously don’t completely understand.

On your seventeenth birthday, while I should have been giving you crap about being out late -I am instead looking at the pair of empty shoes left by the door when times were so much better.

You may not have thought your life mattered -but it did.  It mattered a whole lot.  It may have given you relief -for that, I am grateful, but it has only deepened the pain I feel for you.  I am sorry.  I really, really am.  I am sorry that it wasn’t enough -and that you aren’t here because of that.

I hope you find some peace, kiddo.  You are missed.

Happy Birthday, Dylan.

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