Hours after waking I recall that Aaron came to me in my dream. Sixteen years after his death. I have to count the years on my fingers, like I’m in second grade. Math brings me to the number, but in the dream he was younger than 31, less hairy, apologizing for not telling us he was still alive.
It’s been so many years that Aaron is an etched memory. He’s the figure walking toward me on a dirt road as he carries the log. He’s holding my first born as he stands by the river. He’s calling out that he loves us as we leave the campsite. It’s always summer and he’s always full of life.
Things wear out. The bed frame, the cutting board, the mixer his wife gave us as she left for England to make a new life after her husband died. We’ve made millions of new days since that day in August. The day Aaron died. I’ve forgotten the date but never the feeling, the knowing of before and after. How I had to make my mind decide you’d had a full long life.
So I picture you walking on the road as we arrive at the campsite, a humongous log carried in your arms, how you were happy to be carrying a load. A woodworker at heart, your cabinet encircles the TV I watched last night with my girls. We tell our daughters what they missed in not knowing you: much laughter and love. We try to replicate it, again and again. Come August, we remember you the way summer loves us: full of light, walking towards us.