The brew drained, as if suddenly the plug had been removed. The mingling honey and charcoal sunk, leaving heavy, wet sand in its place. He is gone. Ever the thoughtful one, he waited for my mom to call him on Christmas night, her sister holding the phone to his ear as he lay comatose in his bed. She needed to tell him how proud she was to be his daughter. She needed to tell him one more time how much she loved him and how important he was to her. She said all the words she needed to say and then told him it was okay for him to go. She understood that it was time.
The next morning he was gone. He took his last breath and let go. The world is not as shiny anymore. The blankets not as warm, the walls not as strong. As I look around my house and find photos of him here and there I recall the feeling of his strong arms around me. I won't soon forget the tenderness that seemed so incongruent with his physical size. He was so frightened to hold my newborn daughter - afraid he was capable of hurting her. The sight of him cradling her awkwardly in his lap still makes me smile. The photo that captured that moment is framed on my wall.
He was so much. An inspiration. Strength and support when we most needed it. Quick witted and confident. Practical and whimsical, both. The absolute pillar of this family.
The sand is heavy in my gut. My tears come easily. I know that it is only a matter of time before I am full again. Full of the promise of the legacy he left to me and the others he touched. For now, I will sit with the sand and the tears.