Thirty-two years ago today I called my sister-in-law in Beaufort. We’d talked to her and my brother on Christmas Day but it was the New Year and we’d not touched base on the first. Six o-clock at night, but he was flying. Three hops that day. Kath said he’d call when he landed from the last. I remember Kath and I laughing about married life. I remember her talking about what a wonderful holiday season they’d had and Don fishing for crabs off the pier with Tim, their eight year old. She mentioned his new boat, a Boston Whaler. Andy immediately wanted to talk to him about it. I had to tell my other half to stop trying to grab the phone because Don wasn’t there to talk to.
Don would never be there to talk to again--except in my head.
Some days I feel his loss as a little ache, a tiny “oh I wish he were here” or a “things would be different if...” This week, a student at Santa Barbara contacted me. He’s working to digitize all the information to locate veterans’ graves. He wants to write a blogpost for my blog. I wrote back yes.
Then I put in my brother’s name and San Diego, California. And found his grave marker.
A wave of grief and what ifs and loneliness and loss overwhelmed me.
He’s not there, in body or in spirit. Midair collisions at night over the water are not so kind to return an aviator for burial.
There is no timeline for grief. No right or wrong way to grieve. Hold your loved ones close when you can.
Today I am sad.