Today it’s four months since my Mina died in my arms.

I’ve been weepy for the last few days, including in my doctor’s office yesterday. I’m doing my best but the plain fact is that I miss my baby girl and I desperately miss our life together.

Mina taught me a lot about love, in fact, she may have taught me all I know because no one will ever love me as much as Mina loves me. She never rejected me, even when I richly deserved rejection. She never held a grudge, well, at least not for longer than it took me to grovel an apology. She never denied me her attention, her loyalty, her protection … her adoration. I know now what some folks meant when they told me, “Mina adored you. Anyone could see that.” I look at her photos now, the ones where she’s looking right at me as I snapped the picture, and I can see that adoration. When she was here with me I might’ve mistaken that for her tolerance of my silly attentions, as when I danced and sang rap songs for her to get her to eat during chemo. I really miss acting silly for her pleasure.

Mina loves bones, 1997

I’ve heard a lot of suggestions for how to mitigate or end my grief, my least favorite being “Get on with your life.” OK. I returned to work just two days after Mina died, I’m still gainfully employed, I shower and comb my hair, I took a road trip alone to visit my Dad, I go to the sanctuary to help out, I sometimes go to church, I talk to friends, engage in social media … What part of all of that doesn’t constitute “getting on with” my life?

But getting on with it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. I’m not. It sucks. It sucks more than many of you can understand, I know that, so just trust me when I say that life without Mina sucks dust bunnies through a straw.

That’s not to say there aren’t any bright spots, of course there are some. I have magnificent friends (and you know who you are). My Dad listens to me, even though he rarely agrees with, and he makes me laugh. I enjoy my job, a wonderment after eight years – it still keeps me interested and learning. I have the most precious memories of Mina and our life together and sometimes she visits me in my dreams. I know that some time in the future I won’t feel so completely lonely, that I’ll find my purpose for the rest of my life, and that some day I’ll be with Mina again.

So, what do I know about love? I know that it’s rare and precious and fleeting. I know that living in the moment is the smartest thing that Mina ever tried to teach me. I know that Mina is love.

s.

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