Facts, five years after my sister died
: My eggs this morning looked like the moon’s surface.
: You’ve been gone for 157,680,000 seconds, give or take.
: After my father delivered the news, he pocket-dialed me. I saved the message and still listen to it, though most of what I could hear was only breath.
: I didn’t know it then, but there is a special breath that only men who have lost a child take. The message recording contains that breath, over & over.
: I have learned to listen into the silences and find meaning, by necessity.
: This is not my most important skill. Sometimes I think this is not my life.
: Astronauts cannot breathe without oxygen tanks on the moon, but lunar regolith — also called moon dust — contains oxygen.
: It could be said that lunar explorers are walking on breath.
: Most theologies have some version of heaven. Most scientific references to “the heavens” mean the stars and moon and cosmos.
: The human body is made up of the same elements as those that are present in the heavens. That is why it is said we are made of stardust.
: Most people confuse matter with energy. Neither dies when the human body ceases to be animated.
: I still wear your necklace all the time and hold it every night before I sleep. Sometimes I say your name or nickname or both when I hold it. Once I thought I lost it but found it in my hair.
: My hair has been approximately the same length since the first moment I saw you, when you were two and I was seven.
: The book I remember most from that time was Goodnight Moon. I do not remember reading it with you, but I do remember the glow-in-the-dark stars on your bedroom ceiling; dreamy & erratic, like you.
: In 2010, I read a book of poetry by Audre Lorde in your old bedroom. I was surprised to find a poem exclusively about romantic love. I’ve never found it since.
: My body is confused, because lonely & homesick feel almost exactly the same in my chest.
: I miss you.
: I don’t know whether to look for you in the places you know here, or if I should look at the moon. Which is home?
: I get you and your mom flowers on the anniversary of losing you. This year, I remembered that star lillies first came to my consciousness because of you, though I could not remember how.
: I try to keep a little of you to myself, so I did not buy the lillies this year, opting instead for brazenly purple longer-lasting astromelia.
: The song “I’ll Be Seeing You,” written by Sammy Fair and Irving Kahal, was published in 1938. It still serves as a grief anthem today. The last line of the song is: I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.
: Five years is a long time.