Dear Christina

Dear Christina,

I don’t know quite how to begin, so I just will.

It’s really hard not having you here. I miss you so much. On most days, I can smile, remembering all the fun we’ve had, but today, I just can’t make it work. I’m crying as I type this, blowing my nose on crummy brown napkins I took from the campus Starbucks. Even the napkins remind me of you. I remember the hundreds of times we went for coffee: to revive ourselves between classes, to end a stressful day, or to take a break from studying. There’s a table by the door that bears the lines, “This table is reserved for our disabled students.” That was our spot—a long, rectangular table, a few inches higher that the rest, where we’d pull up, you sitting closest to the door. I’d whisk a chair away for you, and you’d place our lattes on the tabletop. Then I’d sit opposite you, prop my elbows on the table, and tell you everything.

Of course, you remember this, a ritual of our life together, like shopping, cooking, or even cleaning the apartment. I’ll never forget the time you had just mopped the floor and I slipped down the ramp by the bathroom. I fell on my butt, kicking over the toilet paper rack, trash can, and cleaning materials. You laughed so hard I thought you would fall out of your scooter.

I think this week is especially hard for me, because I can’t celebrate my birthday without remembering your enthusiasm for birthdays—or any holiday, really. Any excuse to be festive and make someone feel special. You insisted on surprising me with the traditional Gregson birthday cake (yellow cake with chocolate icing); you found ways of making me feel so important to you. When your birthday rolled around, I tried to reciprocate, to make you feel as special. Usually, it was a combination of dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and a fancy pedicure, you know, the one with the warm towels and 20-minute massage. And a bag of dark chocolate truffles. Those were our birthday props.

But you know this too. Why am I telling you this?

I guess I’m just writing to say, I wish you were here. Every time I sing with my chorus, I think, “Christina would love the concert in October.” We’re singing this song called “At the Beginning,” about two people who started life’s journey together, who proved to be an incredible source of support for one another. How could I not think of you, sing it for you?

This isn’t the first time I’ve spent the quiet morning hours crying in my office, because I hate that you’re not here. I want you to see me teach, to laugh at the crazy stories I bring home. I want you to be proud of me. I love you so much. I can barely stand the thought of new experiences without you.

It’s so hard, Christina, being here without you. And somehow, I think you know this too. You know that my tears are a sign of how amazing you are. If you weren’t so wonderful, I wouldn’t miss you so much!

Well, I’d better stop here, because I’m out of tissues. I just need you to know how much I miss you.

Love,
Emily

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4 Comments

  1. Oh Emily, how beautiful. Christina must have been a beautiful person and a very special friend and I’m so sorry she isn’t beside you now! “At the Beginning” always reminds me of my husband of 45 years whose been gone now for eight years – he would have loved this song as he was always rather mushy about songs with messages anyway.
    Kay Haden …from chorus.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kay! It’s wonderful to know that we are both dedicating “At the Beginning” to people we love.

      Reply
  2. Robin

     /  November 5, 2012

    Emily, I too was missing Christina today. I went to her Facebook page and cried when I saw her pictures and read your beautiful blog entry. I worked with Christina and I remember her telling us stories about you and all of the fun escapades you two had together. She loved you and I know you dearly miss her! ((Hugs))

    Reply

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