Half a Decade

Published 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Rebecca has been dead for half a decade now.

I feel like I’ve run out of words.  How many times, how many ways can I say that nothing is quite right, nor ever will be?  That I miss the girl she would be today, eleven years old?  That I’ve learned to hear around the void she left, but it’s always there in quiet moments, omnipresent, like tinnitus of the soul?

Five years gone.  It will never be okay.  I will never be okay, no matter what I answer when asked how I’m doing.  I lie, all the time, to strangers and friends.  To customer service reps.  Librarians.  Other parents at school.  Myself.

“Hey, how are you?”

“I’m all right.”  Liar.  But better that than dropping a tragedy bomb on an unsuspecting soul.

A cashier asked me this morning how I was doing today, and I didn’t answer, because the words froze in my heart and I doubted that they cared all that much anyway.  I waited a beat or two, silent, and then said, “How ’bout you?”

“Doin’ okay,” they said, as if I’d answered them.  Maybe it was true.  Maybe they were lying.  Or maybe they didn’t have any particular reason to think about what they said and whether or not it was true, or false, or not even wrong.

I’ve said I’m used to it, and that was the truth.  I’m not over it, will never be over it so long as I live, but I’m used to it.

Being used to this hurts, when I think about it.  So I try not to think about it, and that hurts too.  Not like a sword through the heart, not like unending fire, more like a dull ache.  My aging body is starting to produce more and more of those.  I resent it for living years beyond what Rebecca got.  Snarl at reality for offering no way to give my years to her.

I’ve said all these things before, one way or another.

Five years.

No words.


  1. You remain a tremendous role model for me in living through a loved one dying. Repeatedly over the last years moving through the end of my mom’s life I referenced your writing and aspired to be as present and cogent as you. Sending big love your way, and to Kat, Carolyn and Joshua.

  2. We still think of Rebecca often. We had only met her the one time, but her effervescent personality and wide-eyed enthusiasm for seemingly everything left a lasting impression.

    💜 to you, Kat, Carolyn & Joshua.

  3. I was remembering Rebecca yesterday to new friends, and briefly spoke about you and your family’s resilience. I know you know, but I’ll say it anyway: it’s okay to feel the way you do. It’s not right, and it never will be, and many will forever mourn the loss of Rebecca’s light, but we will also remember and celebrate that light. I hope that brings you some small comfort, Eric. We will always be here to listen and to surround you with love.

  4. Eric…
    I can’t begin to imagine the pain of losing your beautiful daughter so so early. I do have just an inkling of it having only weeks ago walked my unsuspecting wife of 49 years from our home to a memory care facility where she now lives surrounded by strangers. And yet today I’m drinking coffee as if it were a normal morning. So I understand how hard it is to answer that question. I’m ok. But I’ll never really be ok. There will never really be normal mornings. So sorry Eric. Small consolation I know but your writing has helped me.

  5. This is a beautiful piece. Love and sunshine to Meyer family.

  6. We should do lunch again. Soon. I can make myself available…

  7. Eric! I’m a silent reader of your blogs/feeds for very long time, I hear your pain and hopefully one day that goes away — just like that. Truth is, none of us are prepared for the ultimate journey.

  8. The words of love and support I’m struggling to share here feel grotesquely inadequate, and even obscene, in the face of your family’s tragedy. The unfairness, the rottenness of what happened, hurts to even read about … and yet somehow, thankfully, you and your family find the strength each day to go on.

    Thank you for your honesty. It may not console you—what could?—but, for what it’s worth, I know your writing helps others. Thank you for that, and for sharing it with us, and for staying among us when your heart is breaking.

  9. The dreams are
    The worst.

    Each night I touch
    Your nose to mine
    And you
    Smile with surprise –
    As if I were novel –
    And touch
    My cheek –
    Bright-eyed
    Wondering deep at my
    Persistence in the
    World.

    Each morn
    This heart
    Must learn anew
    What it has lost;
    That it is has broken.

  10. I never met Rebecca… in fact we never even shared time on the same continent, but through a mutual friend I shared your journey, and your grief. Please know that half a world away, I still feel your grief, and that 5 years on, as I do every 6 months or so, I spent a long time finding your page to check on you and your family. Rebecca, and your entire family really did touch my heart, and even strangers scattered around the world still love and care. May your souls feel cradled by the love of all of us who ache with and for you xxx

  11. This post is more important than anything you’ve done for www.
    I say that having modeled (very poorly) certain aspects of my professional career entirely around you and the company you keep.

    No silver linings here; I think this hole will never be filled for you and your family.

    Wishing you all many moments of temporary amnesia, where you are in the moment and your mind wipes anything that is not in said moment. Brief as they are, I’ve found them to be a breath of fresh air and important for keeping my sanity.

    Struggling with words because emotions are hard and I am dumb; I cannot fathom having to live this. I wish I could hug you all right now.

  12. Hello,

    I came across your blog after being linked to your Facebook algorithm post from years back. I read your story and I’m so sorry for your loss and your struggle. Your words, even as the years go on, feel fresh with pain.

    I really, truly hope – as one stranger to another – and as one father to another – that you can find peace in life. For your sake, for your daughter’s memory and for your family. As someone myself who constantly lives in the past, wondering ‘what-if’ and struggling with that, I hope you can find the strength to live in the present and I hope your pain can be eased, even for a while.

    I wish you well. take care

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