It was a week ago now that we left northern cal for the desert. Thank gods I had my family with me or I don't think I would have gotten through it all half so sane.
We actually had some good times! Who could have thought? Discussions about evolution and alien intervention, only in my family right? I remember the car ride down emotionally - impressions of laughter and sing-a-long (you'll like this Cara -- BEATLES) and talk and reflection on a women (and women) we all love. I think we made then a reservoir from which to draw strength later on. And as much fun as it was, by the end of the trip the memory was bittersweet because our interaction was like a brilliant and familiar recipe missing a key ingredient. (Well, two key ingredients actually but one we should have had for much longer)
This revelation struck me as we ate pizza and drank beer and I sat through ANOTHER basketball game. There was an extra beer. 6 pack and five of us. And as I watched my family interact it hit me that it was the same scene I'd seen many (happy) times but, yet, it was not the same. This dual familiarity/unfamiliarity was, I think, when I realized just how gone Robin was.
Even as her practical jokes attested to her presence...she was gone. She could not whisper totally impolite things into Rene's video camera mic. She could not increase the vibration of the room simply with her laugh. She could not make my dad blush with embarrassment at how quickly his mind-state went into the gutter (with his kids there).
The room was emptier than it should have been.
And this will be the hard thing, living from here on, I think...because I can never un-notice this absence. It is. It just is.
But I remember the love, the laughter, the support, the completeness of our family even in our incompleteness - the way we each balanced the others in some way. And so, even more than the blood...the courtroom...the damned guitar...and Cleo - I remember the laughter and the talking and the visceral knowing that we have each others backs, always.