So it's time for me to mail out the annual Walter the Dog calendar to friends and family. We decide to create a calendar for 2009 even though faithful Walter died in June of 2008.
After we scattered his ashes we shared a bottle of Sweet Walter wine, which Chris had found in western New York state and brought to us. Just like when Chris was in Italy and noticed the Hotel Walter, he took a photo and brought it to us.
Having loved his dogs very deeply, he understood the bond we had with Walter.
So here I am cleaning up the mailing list for sending out the Walter 2009 calendar. I am adding new friends the list and sometimes deleted someone I have fallen out of touch with.
And here I come to an entry: Chris and Robyn.
I don't want the calendar to arrive at Robyn's house with Chris's name still on it. Like Robyn needs another stupid reminder that Chris is gone.
But I am stuck. What do I do? Do I just delete my loving, funny as hell nephew Chris from this list? Kill him again? That doesn't seem right. Leave his name there? Can't.
So I drag the cursor over his name and hit delete. And yet another wave of feelings comes over me. The shock that this great big full of life man is gone. The anger with the president and the war that we all think killed him.
But I can still see his grin, and feel his rough beard when I would reach way up and grab his cheeks and squeeze, as if this 6 foot 3 giant was a two year old, saying to friends - "this is my little nephew Chrissy - isn't he cute?"
Except in small ways, Chris can't ever be deleted. Chris is larger than Life.