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July 19, 2014

While You’ve Been Gone. ~ Jess Sheppard

Courtesy Jess Sheppard (ej apprentice editor)

Warning: naughty language ahead

Last night I cried.

I know it was hard for you—and you were gracious (despite the heat)—and I’m unsure how to proceed except to explain.

I miss them.

Oh fuck do I miss them.

There’s been so many changes and more coming soon. And at every stress inducing turn and decision I have to make I can not help but picture them.

Them in all their nostalgic glory.

I fully appreciate I was a generation removed. And can’t grasp them in their fullest like my uncles or mum can. But I was the first grandchild.

And I remember.

The violin.

The ironing of simple yet perfectly square cotton handkerchiefs.

The smell of a classroom sat empty for two months.

The joy of seeing so many things first hand.

I mean no disrespect to my younger cousins, nor my mum, uncles and aunt.

I know you older generation had dibs. And I know it’s absofuckinglutely a trillion times harder for you and I can not begin to comprehend how you’ve survived—on all those occasions that were momentous.

Those moments frozen in time where your first thought was, “I can’t wait to tell my mom and dad.”

Yet here I stand, holding my son and I cannot help but cry.

Over all the things they’ve missed. For both you and I.

I know they would’ve loved my manfriend. Especially papa, as I believe they were cut from a similar cloth.

And I hope they would’ve been proud (of all of us) for doing all the things we’ve done.

So many college and university grads and ones who’ve found that mate—the one who fuels the fire in themselves to keep going. To do what they feel is best but also right for their partner.

For how we still try to follow tradition including all those irrelevancies and nuances.

But most of all I miss their smiles.

Her full face “joker” grin that was absolutely infectious followed by the breathless laugh. And his—sideways more often than not—almost not admitting to the joy he didn’t always know how to express.

Regardless, it’s these times of change where I note their absence the most. And find jealousy in those who still are blessed enough to have their elders.

And in these moments though I cry and sob, it is out of gratitude and proud remembrance I have for you both—and hope.

Hope that I can learn and be even close to the shiny memory I have of you.

Thank you for the memories.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Courtesy of author

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