It's not a surprise that you're gone - but it is a shock. Even knowing that you were about to leave us doesn't lessen it.
I wish you hadn't. I wish you were still here. I wish I could have told you all of the things I wanted to when I saw you last. I didn't, because I didn't want my last time with you to be sad. I didn't want to say goodbye. Saying goodbye made it too real.
I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I didn't spend more time with you. I'm sorry I didn't hug you more, listen to you more. I'm sorry I wasn't with you when you left us. And I'm sorry you won't get to meet more of your grandchildren, and I'm even more sorry they won't get a chance to meet you.
But you're not gone, not really. You won't be gone until all of us whose lives you touched, all of us who remember you, are gone.
And I can take comfort from that.
Because when that day comes I will be gone as well. Which means I never have to live without you. You live on in my heart. You live on in my mule-headed stubbornness. You live in my eyes, my nose, my chin - and every time I look in the mirror I see a little of you.
I will miss you more than I can ever put into words. But just because you're no longer here doesn't mean you're gone. And it doesn't mean I love you any less.