There is not a day he is not in my thoughts. Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa on my music player, someone whistling to a friend on the street, a change in the air stirring up a man's cologne as he brushes by me. He's there, reminding me. I'm fine. And then I'm not.
It is the muscle memory of that last week. My arms remember the weight of his body as I steadied him on his side while my mother and brother changed the sheets on the hospital bed we set up in the back bedroom. I smell the peppermint lotion I rubbed into his legs and feet every day to soothe him and myself, the coolness of his skin under my hands. I hear what they call the death rattle shaking his insides on the last morning of his life. I knew what it meant. We were losing. We lost.
And today, almost eight years later, I am reminded again. My mood shifts and there's a change in me I cannot shake. A sadness I pretend not to understand, that I try to ignore until I realize there's no fighting it. It's not work or school or other obligations getting me down. I know what it is. I remember. And I grieve. Still.