Some of you may remember last year when I shared a Facebook post about finding Ryan’s inky fingerprint on his closet door.
It’s taken me a full six years to (really) be able to face the holidays with joy, and a year of thinking about that fingerprint to put into words why I can walk into them with HOPE in my heart…
Sarah Rennicke, Editor of Awake Our Hearts, accepted the piece for publication, and it is featured along with some other amazing and heartfelt writing in their Winter Issue.
Read on for a sample or click here to read it, and the other pieces featured this season on Awake Our Hearts.
“It’s there on the closet door.
Black and smudgy against the white enamel. An inky fingerprint.
I’m deep cleaning Ryan’s room as I always do before the holidays. Vacuuming corners and washing woodwork and walls when the jolt of seeing it sends me spiraling.
Grief grabs me by the throat.
“Why,” I cry. Just as I did that day on that dusty trail when my husband, Michael, Ryan’s dad, and I found Ryan’s lifeless body. That single moment shattering our lives and embedding shards so deep into the scars that they can still make us bleed with a memory.
As I trace the jagged edges of that fingerprint with my own, the tears stream. I don’t have the heart to wash it away. Even though we’ve seen seven holiday seasons since he died, it still feels too painfully soon to let more of him go.
I look over at the chair where Ryan used to sit and play his guitar. I close my eyes wishing I could hear him playing his instrument of choice—the bass, the electric—both right there, poised and ready, in case he could somehow step back in and pick up where he left us… I’d even be happy to hear him play his Ukelele, though I can admit too much of that twangy sound used to make me cringe.
But all I hear is Burl belting out Have a Holly Jolly Christmas… “Stop,” I yell at the Alexa. The holidays—life—would be a lot jollier if Ryan was still here.