I see glimpses of him in his kids, all the time. Both have become smart, head-in-the-clouds artists, creative and (mostly) thoughtful.

Nine years ago today, I was leaving the hospital for the last time, crying as my mom drove the two of us home and telling her that I was pregnant with (who would become) Ivy. She had to talk me through what in the world to do about Christmas, and telling everyone now that I had to ditch the Christmas Card Announcement plan that he and I had made a month before. We did come up with a plan that involved that card plus a letter that was so hard to write but contained everything that I couldn’t say out loud.

We had made The decision for him after he stayed in the hospital unconscious for those three days, rapidly losing brain function. You wouldn’t know it unless you’ve been through it, but there’s a lot of paperwork involved. The tiny reward comes a few months later, when the person who got an organ writes you a letter about how his quality of life has changed so much thanks to the lung or heart or kidney he was given and you sit down, holding the paper that you can no longer see through your tears because it was so unexpected and appreciated.

The meetings with the funeral director, the funeral itself, and that Christmas all have vivid memories attached. It wasn’t until life went back to “normal” and I trudged on through pregnancy and new babyhood that things got fuzzy.

Sometimes, I think it’s gotten easier, but really, it’s just gotten different. The memories and glimpses always pop up when they’re expected and so very unexpected. At this point, he’s been gone almost twice as long as we were married, and logically, it seems like that time shouldn’t be as important anymore. But of course it is just as important because grief isn’t logical and love isn’t logical and he’s still living on through his kids.