You crossed my mind the other day—not that that’s anything new.

I was hanging up from an important phone call. It was an exciting one, the kind where you get news you’ve been hoping and praying for.

And even though you’ve been gone for eight years now, it was you I wished I could tell first.

What would you say if you were here?

I wonder that often—about so many things.

I’m happy. 

Life is good. 

But everywhere I look, there are these empty spaces–ones I know you would fill if you were still here.

The arm that was missing yours when you weren’t there to help walk me down the aisle.

The vacant chair in the hospital waiting room where you would have been sitting anxiously waiting for my baby’s—your grandbaby’s—arrival.

The silence in the space where your proud voice would have permeated the air at your grandson’s little league game when he scored his first run.

RELATED: How is it Possible I’ll Never Hear My Dad’s Laugh Again?

The unanswered questions: Can you remind me again how to change my oil? Where is that old ginger cookie recipe you love so much? Will you come show me the secret to planting my garden so it really takes off this year?

And now, the misplaced excitement you wouldn’t have been able to contain if you had been here to watch this dream come true for us.

Like I said—empty spaces. Everywhere.

All these years later, your absence is still felt so deeply.

Time has both been healing and a thief, when it comes to the grief of losing you. The pain isn’t as raw as it once was—I’m so thankful for that. But as time goes on, I’ve started losing the little things. I have to reach deeper in my memory to hear your voice. I can’t recall as many of the moments we shared.

It hurts to know those memories are all we’ll ever get. No new ones will be made this side of Heaven.

As life happens and milestones come and go, I’m keenly aware of you missing each and every one. You should be here doing life with us, not watching it unfold from your place in the sky.

RELATED: Dear Dad, I Miss You So Much

We try to be strong.

We talk about you often.

We tell our kids that even though Grandpa is in Heaven, his memory lives on through us—and on the best days, I almost believe that. 

I can smile at the little things our babies do that remind me so much of you, even though they never got to meet you. I can answer the millions of questions they ask about you and tell them funny stories about our adventures. I can be grateful for the legacy you left behind.

But on the hard days—if I’m being perfectly honest—it just feels really unfair that you’re gone.

It’s not right that our kids only get to know you as an extension of my shared memories. It’s not okay that you can’t take them for ice cream cones, or let them stay up way too late, or watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning.

It’s not fair that I can’t pick up the phone when I’m having a hard time and hear that straight-shooting, yet loving advice you used to give. 

And how I wish more than anything I could share the joy of the life-changing moments—like this one—with you.

I know you’re in Heaven.

I know you’re in a place with no sickness or pain.

Your body is healed. Your heart and mind are at peace.

I know you’re in a better place—but sometimes, I just really wish you were here.

How lucky I was to have you for a little while.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward