It started on Saturday as I boxed up her clothes and kept finding pieces that had memories attached to them. On Sunday, I must have said her name 100 times as I explored Metropolis, Illinois with my mom and my brother + his wife. Yesterday, I took apart the bedframe and cried as I thought about all the memories that connected to that bed. Then today… I drove to Smyrna to pick up an online order and just started crying on the interstate.
I just keep thinking about all the little things, and I miss them.
Some (But Not All) of the Things I Miss
I miss lazy Saturday mornings. We’d sit on the couch with our coffee and either watch a television show or make a game plan for the weekend. She’d usually just be wearing one of my t-shirts (pants optional), and I almost always had on my favorite pair of gym shorts (she’d always tease me about them). I loved the stillness and quality time with her.
I miss the way she’d stick her tongue out sometimes when she smiled. I miss how her eyes would light up when she was excited. I even miss the way she’d pout when she was trying to convince me to do something for her.
I miss how, for such a tiny woman, she’d belch so loudly then laugh about it. I miss predicting that she was about to fart based on the way she’d suddenly tense up her abdomen while we were sitting next to each other on the couch. I miss how she’d just randomly text me about her bowel movements like it was no big deal to discuss poop over text messages.
I miss her random text messages throughout the day. If she was working, she’d send out of context quotes from things her patients or coworkers said. If she wasn’t working, I’d get everything from TikTok videos to memes to suggestions for some DIY project we could do in the house. On her difficult days, I’d get questions or comments about her capabilities and fears. On my difficult days, I’d get sweet messages filled with love and reassurance. But, regardless of the context of the messages, they always made me smile because they let me know she was thinking about me.
I miss our playful flirting. I miss the way she’d randomly smack my butt or poke my side. I miss how she would pretend she wasn’t going to kiss me or she’d randomly lick my nose just to be funny.
I miss watching her dance. I miss the way she would just randomly become a child and go play at a playground or park. I miss having picnics in the park with her.
I miss date nights. It didn’t matter if we had tons of money or were balling on a budget — we always found a way to make our time together meaningful and fun. We tried so many restaurants for the first time together, spent many nights enjoying the arts, and ran up our fair share of bar tabs. We also cooked for each other and together, played games, ordered takeout, watched so many medical-themed television shows, and made crafts together. Every single occasion created new memories and made me fall in love with her even more.
I miss our showers together. I miss watching her sit in the tub to shave her legs. I miss the way she’d randomly say, “Boop!” and poke me when I was rinsing my hair and not paying attention.
I miss singing in the car with her. I miss the way she’d curl up in the weirdest positions in the passenger seat. I miss talking about random things as they popped into our heads during long drives.
I miss our weekend road trips. We tried to leave the state or go somewhere at least once a month. Sometimes we took silly day trips to Bowling Green or other “just over the border” towns, but other times we went to fun places much further away. But every single trip we took together was fun and uniquely planned. They always made Emily so happy, and I loved seeing the joy such simple getaways brought her.
I miss the way she’d call me on her way home from work. I miss hearing “Babe! I’m home!” when she’d walk in the house. I miss her random surprises for me.
I miss making music with her. I enjoyed it when we’d play duets on flute and oboe. She was always so self-conscious about how she sounded, but I would always tell her the fact that she was willing to play with me made my heart soar. I also loved when she’d sit down at the piano and play things we could sing together. We did it every time we went to her parents’ house, and every time I sat there with her, I just felt so content, and I pictured us still doing it even when we grew old.
I miss the way her hair smelled. I miss laughing at her spend a half hour brushing it out. I miss watching her just casually toss all of that hair into a bun and it would always look good.
I miss all the ways she’d try to be sneaky then seem shocked when I’d catch her. I miss the moments when she’d suggest something rebellious because it always seemed so random and out of character. I miss watching her swim and live her best life by the water.
I miss our physical intimacy. Yes, I miss the sex, but I miss so much more than that. She had this way of just resting her head on my shoulder or my chest that made me feel so happy and calm. We cuddled in bed every single night (I was usually the big spoon). And, because she was always so tense, I’d give her a massage almost every night for a solid 30 minutes. Sometimes I’d sit and just run my hand up and down her arm because her skin was just so soft.
I miss the hugs, the kisses, and holding hands. I miss wrapping my arms around her to keep her warm on cold evenings when we’d be outside. I miss the way she’d cling to my arm when she was scared but didn’t want to say it out loud.
I miss watching television with her. When she was home, she was almost always in charge of what we watched, but I really didn’t mind. Her choices were hilarious because they’d range from true-life medical shows to silly, almost childish things (and everything in between). She’d get so mad at me when we’d watch something she’d already seen because I’d just ask her 10000 questions and she’d sit there and say, “Just watch the show!”
I miss rolling over to tell her something, only to see that she has ear plugs in (which means I was snoring loudly). I miss the way she’d stick her foot or arm out randomly in the middle of the night to make sure I was still beside her. I miss watching her sleep because it was the only time she was ever completely still.
I miss all the random compliments I’d get from her throughout the day just for existing and being myself. I miss hearing, “I love you!” every morning and every night. I miss the way she’d look at me and just love me so completely.
What Do I Do Now?
I know that many of the little things I loved so much were completely unique to our relationship and will never exist again. And I think that’s what makes this whole situation so damn hard.
How the hell do you move forward and not long for a past filled with memories like ours?
Maybe I need to write another post about all the things I don’t miss? (Mostly kidding.)
Because of Emily, I have so many amazing memories. And because she’s gone, I often feel like I’m drowning in them as part of the sea of grief that seems to have hit me and never stopped beating me down since the day she died.
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