I want to remember the wide black wing span as you glide over the river.
I want to remember the crunch of snow under my boots with every step in the woods and the silence of snow covered trees.
I want to remember cups of hot golden milk swirled with honey and ghee soothing my insides. I want to remember the coziness of flannel sheets, my soft fuzzy blankets, and burrowing under comfy covers for a long winter sleep.
I want to remember your kind hearted hugs where you pulled me close so our hearts could touch with no words. I want to remember your yellow toothed crooked smile and the sparkle in your crescent eyes when you opened packages of home-made chocolate chip cookies.
I want to remember the wordless afternoons as we sat together in the living room, over-looking Lake Merrit – you with your thriller mystery in hand, me with my art journal – just there. I want to remember my early life with you spent navigating the kitchen together, me moving twice as fast as your turtle pace as you made breakfast for mom.
I want to remember your made up calisthenics routine, where you flung your arms up and down, right and left - your own version of yoga, juicing the joints.
I want to remember the last time we went out to the Legion of Honor to see the Impressionist show and I told you how much I loved you and how I felt that the only time I’d be uncomfortable with that love would be at your funeral in front of your biological children.
And you told me just to be myself.
And I did.
And it was.
I want to remember all the times you trod up the ski slope when I fell to help me back on my feet.
Yes, I want to remember your warm heart, the kind and gentle man you grew into in old age. And I will remember.
I will re-write my story.
I will remind myself that I did nothing wrong.
That I just landed in the role of your daughter through marriage.
I never stole anyone’s place.
I did nothing wrong.
I simply loved you.
Proximity made it so.
You were there.
I was there.
Under the same roof, in the same house.
I want to remember the last thing you said to me on the phone in your garbled voice, and I will:
“Di, I love you. I love everyone.”