It doesn't happen nearly as frequently as it used to, but when the flood of grief comes it still comes with plenty of force.
Usually I can pinpoint a particular cause - it's a special day or there's an event that carries a memory - but today there was no such thing.
There was only the weight of everything and then at some point about 2/3 of the way into the 7 hour drive home from Niagara Falls I missed Joe with the ache as if it had just happened yesterday.
Deep anxiety. Hopelessness. Fear. Extreme and complete loss weighing down. It bubbled up at first and then overflowed.
He was always the proper measure of crazy and sane when it came to our Mets and God knows I could have used that after the disaster of a game today.
He always knew just the right way to direct even my deepest well of injustice-fueled rage and mine still sits within me tonight with no idea where to put it.
He challenged my mind and sharpened my soul every day, constantly pushing forward a better version of me and my heart and mind have been feeling all kinds of cloudy lately.
He made me more patient, more observant, a better listener and in his illness and death more appreciative of each of life's moments.
He kept my life ordered and complete, but also exciting and beautiful.
Tonight, as I stared down the construction traffic on Route 78 and had my good cry to Faded and Step Into the Light, I realized once again the true value of a loving relationship.
It was a realization that made me happy and sad at the same time.
Happy because the relationship I had with Joe was amazing - not always perfect or always smooth, but amazing.
And sad because I miss it. At this point, I've got my eyes and heart open in case another relationship comes my way, but I don't miss what I had with Joe enough to settle for anything less than what I know is real and inspiring. I will take these moments and memories, grab on to what I know is possible, keep believing on what may be found, and in the meantime do my thing the best I know how.