I’m having a hard day.
Everything is reminding me of Dana, and of Dana being gone. It’s hitting me in every direction. That song? He’s gone. That movie? He’s gone. That joke? He’s gone. That book? He’s gone. He’s gone, he’s gone, HE IS GONE.
With him goes the only person (besides Grandma) that I always believed loved me unconditionally. I’ve felt lucky in that I was secure knowing that Dana would always welcome me, want me around, love me. Always. He’s been my backup plan for as long as I’ve been independent. “If I get really sad, broke, in trouble, need to get on my feet again, I can always go to Dana.”
It was the love. It was knowing how much he loved me and appreciated me. He made me feel smart, powerful and wise in how he sought out my advice and wanted my approval.
Yesterday I walked to the outhouse and saw the red bathtub sitting on the side. The red bathtub was one that my mom had bought for the house that she originally lived in, then left and Dana moved into. Dana re-did the bathroom and took out the red bathtub. Knowing how much I liked it, he slugged it all the way up here and gave it to Mikey and I for valentine’s day.
He was SO EXCITED when he gave it to us, hopping from foot to foot and barely able to contain his anticipatory glee. “Guess what I brought for you?!!!!!!!!” It was like when we were kids and we’d save our money forever, or work hard and long at handmade gifts. So much time, effort and anticipation went into how much the other would enjoy the gift that we were about to burst when the actual time came to give it.
Seeing the red bathtub sitting on the hill, waiting to be put in and used, I lost it. I sat down and cried my head off.
We don’t know if we’ll be able to stay on this farm,where all of these wonderful physical remembrances of Dana will continue to surround us. The red bathtub. The slope he mowed for me. The lawnmower. The area he cleared for my garden (that I still haven’t put in). The space he told me wanted to build a pagoda and a little flower garden, more trees.
It’s all up in the air now. Leaving would be heart breaking at this point, losing the home and space we love so much in addition to my only brother, my only sibling, my best friend.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.