August 20th leaves a paradox in my heart

August 20, 2005

I lost my dear friend Eric on this day after a hard-fought 20 year battle with drugs. My heart broke that day & most days since, at least a bit, due to the hole his loss left.

August 20, 2011

This is the date of my baby sisters wedding. A day full of love, happiness, joy, laughter & dancing…yet somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can feel the heartache of the previous experience I’ve had with this date.

I start to question myself the week before the wedding. “Why are you feeling such a strong sense of grief now when you should be so excited, so happy?”  The only clear-cut answer I have to this question has to do with Eric’s daughter appearing my life mere weeks before the wedding, bringing up feelings I had long since buried. Suddenly, I was filled with anguish, pain & grief not felt since his loss. It was as if I reliving that day all over again.

Odd how such beauty can come out of sadness. I’ve never been able to understand this strange brew. All I know is that having my friend’s daughter in my life, to share stories with, to stare at her face when I miss him, to watch her as she learns more about him & looks for any sign that he is in her, the daddy she never knew.

He always loved her. He carried a picture of her in his wallet until the day he died. He never got over the fact that he was not in her life. None of this helps her fill that gaping hole inside her own heart, but day by day, story by story, I watch her get to know Eric a little more. She falls more in love with him & it is beyond words.

Who knows, maybe this is my way of honoring him, by sharing this experience with her. So be it.

Luckily, I was able to find a balance between celebration & grief, at least for a day. The wedding was beautiful, it was magic, it was love. I will smile when I think of that day, my sisters dress, her vows, the photo booth, the dancing…the love

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