I miss you

photo by  Betina

photo by Betina

How do I explain what it is to miss you?

I don’t have the words—all the languages I speak seem inadequate to this task. Perhaps every language is.

You are my son. Yet I know neither your favorite color, nor food. Nor team. Nor whether you would’ve even liked sports enough to have one of those. What I don’t know about you could fill volumes. But it does not fill the void.

I say that I miss you because I do. But how? How is it possible to miss one who could not stay even long enough to make a sound? Yet I do.

When we tell the living that we miss them we can usually expand—the way you laugh at the chaos, we say. Your cooking, or our talks.

When we speak of the dead, too, the ones with whom we had been given time, we talk of who they’d been, or who they’d been to us. We miss what we used to share—hugs, politics, rolling our eyes in unison, cocktails, family stories.  

You did not cook (no shit), and never talked. You could not plan with me (again, no shit). So what do I miss, what can I miss when I say that I miss you?

People tend to underestimate our grief. I think partially it is because they can’t imagine what it’s like to love and miss someone you did not get to know.

I do not know very much about you, my love. I know you were strong, and long. And beautiful. But those are not the things I miss.

The way life works is that we all change, all the time. But some of the time we change more rapidly. You’d be ten now, and I don’t have a clue who you’d be, or how you’d be in the world. What I know is that every second would’ve been new—a chance for you to discover something, to learn, to think, to feel. To find mischief. Or joy. Or joyous mischief.

So the best I’ve got is that I literally miss you. I miss your presence in every one of these seconds. I miss learning who you’d be. I don’t just miss your potential, vague, and wide-open, and seductively bright as it sits here in your absence. I miss learning what exactly you would’ve done with that potential. I miss watching you take chances, rise to the occasion or fall short. I miss getting to watch you be human, with all the beautiful and all the ugly that comes with.

I miss you, baby.


Do you miss your chil(ren)? How does your missing feel?