Playing Pretend

They’re at home, in Suches. Busy. That’s why they haven’t called.

I’m driving kids, running errands, folding laundry, writing. I’ll give them a shout when I’ve got time.

There’s her contact info, still in my phone. His, too. It’s all good.

I can’t wait to show him my new office. He’ll get a kick out of the dungeon-like atmosphere.

She’s going to giggle at my new cross-stitch project.

I’ll show those to them when I have a moment to breathe and hit the “FaceTime” button.

It’s just all go-go-go. They’ll understand. They’re just quiet right now because we’re all busy.

But then? Reality hits.

When I go to divvy up the school photos and I have an extra set of 8 x 10s that would normally go to them.

When I see rocky road ice cream or German chocolate cake at the grocery store.

When I send out an email reminding loved ones of the next football game/band competition/swim meet/taekwondo belt test and I don’t include them in the “To:” line.

When I walk by the family room shelf where their cremains reside and place new tea light candles on top to replace the old ones that have burned out.

When Tyler brings up his parents’ estate in conversation.

When I step into the house in Suches and it’s empty and devoid of laugher.

They’re gone. She left us a year ago today. He followed three weeks later.

In fleeting moments, I remember that how I’m coping is not healthy. This pretending that they’re just busy and have no time to call or come to kid activities. It’s easier to make believe that they’re here, just a few miles away rather than not here and on another plane of existence.

That’s how I’m managing. That’s how I’m carrying on.

By playing pretend.

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