Loss.

One day you sit down and you think about someone you miss...and you blame yourself. You blame yourself for any time that you wasted, for any time that you can now never get back.

Loss is like a circle in your chest that sucks the air out of every breath you take and reminds you of what could have been. You feel it in your ribs and it sinks down into your stomach and all of a sudden your eyes start to sting and you remember everything good that once was.

I remember lots of things. I remember going to my grandparent's house in the woods and seeing deer on the way there. I remember the dark brown shutters and the triangle roof peaks and the glass storm door that led me into a world of "Hi darling, how are you?" The steps that seemed to have the softest carpet. The smell of garlic in the kitchen. A place with so much happiness.

But it really isn't the place that makes the happiness. It's a smile from someone who hasn't seen you in a long time. For me, it was the creaking of my own feet in the hallway and looking into the TV room at my grandfather watching a Yankee game, as his "helloooooo" invited me in.

He was really loud. His voice was loud, his walk was loud, his presence was loud. His smile was loud. He used to get really scared when I went to cut a loaf of bread, or when I went to take something out of the oven. "Careful!" And I rolled my eyes as he had a crisis over me cutting up a few carrots.

He always cried when he opened his cards on his birthday. And I didn't necessarily write a novel for him, I usually just wrote "I love you" and he bawled his eyes out. One time when my brother was a baby and was crying over nothing, my pop had to leave the room because it made him too sad to see him cry.

He was the funniest person I knew. The jokes never ended. He still made my grandma laugh after 60 years of marriage. When we had to part ways after spending any kind of time together, I noticed the quiet. But I knew that my life would become loud again the next time I saw him.

And now, everything is so quiet. Gaps in time where he would have fit a little joke in are silent. The silence runs its finger up my spine and...I try to make the joke.

His voice resides in my mind and sometimes when I look in my living room and see where he used to sit on the couch...I swear his imprint is still there.

When I only have one hand on the steering wheel I swear I hear him saying "Be careful!" And so I listen.

I am overwhelmed with trying to fill a void that can never really be touched in the slightest. I understand that people cannot fulfill you, but what happens when someone is such a deep part of you that they are part of your happiness? It is wrong to think that letting them go could ever be possible.

And so I look for him wherever I go. I look for him in my family. My uncle has his hands, my mother has his lips, my brother looks so much like him. I used to hate my brown eyes until I realized that they are just like his.

I have grown accustomed to feeling abnormal during any holiday, during any day where I have the urge to call him, and at any point when I open the door to my grandmother's apartment and my loud greeting just isn't there. His recliner chair remains empty.

But with every pang of lost time, I feel more and more responsible for remembering every possible aspect of him. I listen to the songs from Singin' in the Rain, I watch the Honeymooners, I still sing the wrong words to Frank Sinatra songs on purpose because it used to make him laugh.

I know that within the circle of loss, we are powerless. But I like to think that all the people we love are up there just waiting for us. In the depths of lost time, I see him eating Christmas dinner with us, I see him "playing" the harmonica, I see him smiling and laughing. And I know one day we will meet again.