It doesn't really go away, does it? The pain returns as freely as it dissipates, like when the joints in my hip flare up, like the pain in my back, always there waiting for me after a rough nights sleep or carrying your sister on my shoulders for way too many blocks.
It's gotten so busy around here, with your brother and all. I'm afraid I haven't stopped long enough to just sit with you. I find myself alone for the first time in months, I mean really alone, in strange cities and foreign languages, and you're all I can think about.
Slow down for a day and you rush in like a freight train.
Hey dad, you say. Remember?
We have done so well, you and I, working toward integration, living together without as many tears, without so much heartbreak. I see you sitting there on the shelf and I know the pain has evolved. The space where you reside in my brain is no different than where the other two and your mother live, right out front, covering more mental and emotional ground than everything else combined, and even all of these thoughts about you have morphed into something vaguely uplifting. We are progressing. I can see this.
And then I get alone with you - without you - and everything seems to crumble for a time. No matter the progress, however important it may be, no matter the integration and the beauty, the acceptance, no matter how much I mentally talk myself down from the pain, no matter how much I tell myself to keep walking, you, you, you, my second daughter with blue eyes and big hands and Bray cheeks are never coming back.
I miss you something awful my dear. I would give anything to hold you again, just a little bit longer. Another hour or two, or another day. Sometimes I wish we hadn't donated your heart valves so we could have had more time. I wish I could have followed you around the city until you ended up back in my hands. Your sister is getting so big and so old and I desperately wish you guys were playing together. Movie nights aren't the same without you. Or going out for dinner or taking little trips, or anything else for that matter.
Whatever is left of you and however complicated this father and daughter relationship is, I love you Margot June.