The things you’ve missed

This last month has been very chaotic. The big move that has been looming on the horizon for what feels like ages now has finally happened. Will and I put the cats in their carriers, loaded them up in our cars, and proceeded to drive, quite literally, across the country from Florida to the Pacific Northwest. It took 5 days, 14 states, and 3200ish miles, but we’re finally here, in the great cold white north. It even snowed a couple of days after we got here! We are so not in the South anymore 🙂

The trip itself was a pretty amazing experience. I haven’t visited many states, only about a handful, but during this trip we drove through 14 of them. I loved seeing the unique and sometimes snowy landscapes of Colorado, the crisp blue sky and hills of Wyoming, the pretty mountains of Utah, the rolling hills of Oregon, and the fall landscape of greens, yellows, and reds on the trees and great white-tipped mountains of Washington.

As always, when I have a new experience, my thoughts drift to Brandon. While we were driving up to and through Atlanta, I remembered the impromptu trip he and I took there one year, maybe back in 2011 or 2012, to go pick up the shiny new yellow Ninja 250 motorcycle he bought. He used to have one just like it, yellow and all, but it got wrecked, so he was so very excited to get a replacement. It had seemed like fate when he found one just like his old one, only 8ish hours away. So one day we got in his truck and drove to Atlanta to get it. It was strange driving on those same roads, all these years later, and remembering that random trip. Sometimes it feels like the life Brandon and I had never really happened, like it was some dream, but driving through Atlanta brought back such vivid memories, it both made me happy to remember and so awfully sad to know that he’ll never get to experience anything new again. And here I am, driving through 14 states, seeing things I’ve never seen before and can’t tell him a thing about any of it. Because, for reasons unknown to me, he’s dead.

And that got me thinking for the rest of the trip about all the things he’s missed, being dead and all. The unfortunate truth the widowed quickly learn is that even though it feels like our worlds have skidded to a rapid stop, the rest of the world keeps on spinning, not missing a beat even though half of our life is suddenly gone. And a lot has happened in the last 4 years and 8 months.

He missed seeing his best friend’s son grow up. The last time Brandon saw them, the little one was just a few months old. Over the years, I’ve seen him grow, start walking and talking, and somehow turn into a mini version of his dad. Brandon should have been there for that, too. He never really wanted to have kids and didn’t like many of them, but he instantly fell in love with this little boy. This is the two of them together, about a month before Brandon died:


He missed the birth of his best friend’s second child too, a little girl this time. He’ll never even know she exists. He’ll miss her growing up. He could have been such a wonderful influence on these kids’ lives…it breaks my heart that he’ll never know them.

He’s missed the ending of How I Met Your Mother. It was a show Brandon loved and introduced me to within the first couple of months of us dating. We spent hours in his room, snuggled up, watching it. We both loved it so much that we’d even re-watch the show every few years. It kind of became a tradition. And he died a year before the show ended, so he never got to see who the mother was, or how it all ended. I still watch the show every few years, much like he and I used to. And each time I get sad during the last couple of seasons. I wish he got to see the ending.

He missed seeing how The Walking Dead has grown over the years. We used to watch it, though we almost gave it up during season 2 (if you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about). Since then, the show has become so good, the characters so interesting. I ended up reading the comics last year and my mind was blown. But he missed it all.

He missed seeing how Dexter ended. This was another show Brandon got me into. And he doesn’t get to find out how it all ends.

He missed Trump becoming president. I know what his political beliefs were, but I still wish I could tell him this one. I’d love to know what he’d say about it.

He missed my father dying.

He missed my stepdad getting remarried.

He missed the one time it kind of snowed in our hometown back in the winter of 2013. He always said he wished it would, and of course it figures that it did not even a year after he died. The first time in over a decade. Figures.

He missed me adapting to my career. He died during my second month of training straight after graduating with my degree, so he didn’t get to see me finish training and actually succeed in my chosen field.

He missed the crazy that this world has become. Mass shootings happen every month or two, it seems. Racial tensions are at an all-time high. Society is so very divided.

He missed the new Star Wars movies. He would have loved them.

He missed so many of his friends getting married, starting families, growing up.

He’s missed this new person I’ve grown into. I’m not the same Val he knew. I wonder how much of my growth was natural and how much of it was influenced by his death. I wonder if he’d like this version of me.

There is so much he’s missed.

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