One Month On
It was early February, about one week after you died. I was standing at the top of a snowy hill in upstate New York, watching my boys sled down a hill and climb back up. Growing up in Texas, they had never seen snow and this was the year I was determined to change that. Ashley and I talked about canceling the trip after you passed, but you always told us to move forward. And years ago I told myself that nothing would pull me away from my time with my children. In my mind, you and I had said goodbye already. We said it when I stood in that hospital room in the setting sunlight after you had already taken your last breath. When I put my hand on yours and thanked you for being in my life. I thought of that as my goodbye.
So there I was standing on the hill in early February, watching the boys make their runs. They would sled down the hill, then climb back up while arguing about who had dragged the heavy sled back to the start more times. And when they reached the top they would ask me if I saw. You know the way that kids do. Watch dad, look. Did you see? And I would say that I did. And then back down the hill they would slide. It went on like that for a while. Sliding and climbing and them asking did you see and me saying I did. As though there wasn’t anything else in the world to see. The day was as close to perfect as days get.
The snow started then. Big snowflakes, fat. Some as large as half-dollars. So big I could hear them falling and plop plop on the snow around me. If you had put them in one of your movies I would have said they looked too fake. And you would have done your half-smile, half-shrug and said yeah but big snowflakes look cooler. And that would have been that.
The boys asked me if I saw their last run. Did you see? I said you bet I did. One more run, boys. Snow’s here and it’s time to call it a day. So they nodded and they slid down the hill, laughing and whooping and making the day almost perfect one last time. At end of the run when they reache...