For Montpelier

You have been gone for 12 years. They have been hard. Full of the grief and heaviness and the administrative challenges of death. How at one point, I had to pretend to call my phone company as you and tell them I was authorizing a change on the account. How I once had to fax a copy of your death certificate to a gym because they sent me an automatic renewal of your membership. How the website provider still kept your email open and how environmental groups still ask you to renew your fundraising goals.

You loved going to Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier on Saturdays and you loved walking to town. Perhaps it’s lucky that you never had to see the flood water cover the town recently. And that you don’t have to smell the terrible, thick stench of despair and oil and deal with the brown water in the basement of your office and see the lines of debris covering the sidewalks.

You don’t have to watch Bear Pond Books, perhaps the sweetest book store in the world and where George with the gray hair still works, suffering to rebuild.

But then you also missed so much. Three weddings. Two babies. Different jobs. Summer afternoons and quiet winter mornings. Mom leaving Montpelier finally, and saying goodbye to that house on the hill.

Sometimes it’s just too much that you are gone.

That the rest of us have gotten older.

That dogs have come and gone, even though this isn’t a precious dog story, like Jenna says.

I didn’t stop writing. 

And I still drive too fast sometimes and occasionally run a red light.

But perhaps you know all of this already.

Perhaps you know that money is tight sometimes and that I still cry easily and that for years I thought I saw you on the street or in line at grocery stores.

And that sometimes I smell weed and think of you, even though it was hard to see you smoke it sometimes. 

Maybe I was just scared that I would lose you somehow to the thick fog of oblivion. What I didn’t know was that we all lose those who we love. We all must go on breathing and eating chicken and doing the mundane things without you.

That somehow tables remain behind and reading chairs find new homes and new young families take over houses and summer turns to fall and writing teachers return to their campuses to teach, with worn copies of The Great Gatsby tucked in their bags.

That somehow it all moves on and we creep forward with the dense sorrow and hollow pain falling in quick, even steps behind us.