There’s this shovel in my office with a post-it note on it. I think it’s probably an ash-shovel for a fireplace. Or something like that because it’s just shy of two feet long. And no, I did not just dig in my desk drawer for a measuring tape so I could walk across the room and measure it because I’m gifted enough in measurement to guess that it was less than two feet long. Twenty inches, to be exact.

But really, it’s a shit shovel.

Jill bought it for me. From Goodwill, I’m sure. It was her favorite store. Or maybe a yard sale. She loved those, too. As a matter of fact, on October 10, 1999 she and I went to eleventy-thousand-three-hundred-twenty-five-million yard sales during the day and that night, I went into labor with Zane. She was pretty proud of herself for inducing my labor ten days early and before the doctor’s appointment to schedule and inducement.

Jill wrote the note to Phil because she knew if she wasn’t here to keep me in line, someone would have to do it. I think she probably picked the right person for the job. There aren’t too many people who can put up with me.

I can’t wrap this head of mine around the fact that Jill’s been gone two years already.

I mean, she still talks to me in my head. I still find little notes and gifts from her all over in my stuff. She was so good at being a friend. She knew every little thing about me and she constantly thought of me. I know this because one of the other things she was really good at was sending boxes of ‘prises. (Surprises. ‘prises. Prizes.) She’d fill a box with recipes cut out of magazines and newspapers, funny articles, comics, post-it notes, and little gifts that mean absolutely NOTHING to anyone but her and I. She paid attention to the details.

I said that this year I wanted to make more time for the people that are still here. I want to pay attention to the details. I want to bless someone by thinking of them. I can’t be Jill, but I can emulate the way she loved. I can pay attention to my friends and give them my time and my heart and things with secret meanings.

Like my Jim mug.

I might tell you the Jim story one day.

* * *

In memory of Jill.

LoveYouMissYouBye

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