We spent a warm, sunny Easter weekend with family, and did all of those things that we do each year at this time – dying eggs and searching in the morning grass for them the next day, eating together and talking together and laughing at the kids (especially the youngest one). We carry on this way because it’s important to, and we find joy in it. But she is everywhere we look – around the table with the hard boiled eggs, hunched over in the yard looking for foil wrapped candies, at the buffet with a breakfast plate piled high with bacon, just beyond us – where we all find ourselves staring occasionally. Beyond the noise and the laughter close at hand, we catch each other gazing off into the distance – quietly, and removed from the present. She’s everywhere and nowhere, and we all feel it in the very center of our gut, while the girls gather around the table and write her name a dozen times over on the eggs she should be coloring herself, and then a dozen times again.
It’s been a few days now, and I still find myself wishing I’ll spot her in these photographs, where she is supposed to be – goofing off with her uncle, cuddled up on the couch with her cousins, next to her grandfather’s elbow. My chest is tight from the searching.