It sounds weird. I get that. I'm not pretending that everyone will believe me or understand or even care. But it's been going on now for over a year, and it is what it is.
The Friday night that we arrived in Iowa for Aimee's funeral, we went to Nik and Aimee's home after the wake. Wanting to change clothes, and in part wanting to, in some morbid way, to see where she had died in their bed, we asked where we could change. Nik led us down the hall, and into their room.
The room where she died. The bed where she lay when she breathed her last breath. We talked briefly about where she had been, about how she slumped over the edge of the bed, and about where the paramedics had been when they came in and took her away, just before she was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Nik left us to change and as we did, I knelt down by the bed, and laid my head where she had laid. Where she was last alive. Where she was last "Aimee". I could feel her all around me, and I struggled to breathe as the grief overtook me again, as it had so many times already that day. And yet strangely I was comforted by being there in her room, in her home, on her bed - where she had spent so many days gabbing with me on the phone; where she laid and sat while we talked about her future and talked about her baby, her career, and all that was to come for her in her life.
And as all of those thoughts, and memories, and heart-pains washed over me, I looked at the clock.
It said 9:11.
That's not a big deal. Or rather it wasn't a big deal at the time - "911" kind of sticks in everyone's head after the Twin Towers disaster, and I do have that weird number thing...the thing where I remember weird numbers for no apparent reason. That's not new.
But the next morning, as I readied myself for her funeral, and glanced at my clock on my phone, there it was.
The next day, back at home, I saw it both times. Not 9:12, not 9:10, not 9:13.
And I have seen it nearly every day since.
It's not as though I sit around waiting for the clock to turn over to 11 after the 9th hour. It's not even as though I sit and think of Aimee all day long (although there are days I do just that, even now). I'm not trying to see 9:11, or glancing repeatedly until I see it - I just look at the clock like anyone looks at their clocks, and more often than not, when it's that time of day, whether I'm thinking of it or not when I glance, 9:11 is when I look.
Nearly every day, and often twice a day, that time of day is when I glance at the clock. And I think of her. And I feel her close to me, like I did that night, and I feel her comforting me, and sending her love.
Often when I look at my clock and see those digits, something is going on in my life (hell, when ISN'T something going on in my life?). It's often something that I feel she is missing out on, or something I would have wanted to tell her about, or to share with her, or to ask for her perspective on. And when I see them during those times, those numbers remind me that she's not missing it, whatever it is - she's watching and loving and knowing from where she is.
I saw it last week as Jackson and I headed to his first day of preschool. She was so excited when Sam was starting in 2008 - she died the day before Sam's first day at the same preschool Jackson attended last week. In seeing it that day, I knew she was watching over him, as she watched over Samantha. I often see it at night, often when I've had a bad day, and I know she wishes she could be there, on the phone line, to listen to me bitch and moan...and I know if I want to, I can still bitch and moan to her, and though she can't answer with words, I believe that she hears me. And honestly, I know, usually, what she would have said, and those numbers remind me of that.
I could list so many instances of seeing that time on my clock, and being stopped cold and sent to a moment of remembrance, of missing her, and of knowing that I'll never stop missing her. It used to unnerve me a little bit, but now that it's been going on for well over a year, it's a comfort. I even smile now when I see it, and I often find myself saying "hi" to her; I stop, and remember her, and I know she's with me. Those moments give me clarity in my day, in whatever is going on at that time, and I can feel her hand in that. She has always done what she could to support me, to love me, and to be there for me, no matter what. Some things never change.
I love you, and I miss you, Aimee. More profoundly all the time, I miss you. Keep drawing me to that time of day, and keep giving me the reminder that while you're gone from our world, you'll always be here.