I tried to call Jackie yesterday.

It wasn’t the first time. I’ve found myself grabbing my phone to text her more times than I can count, and I’ve hit her name on my speed dial half a dozen times since last August. I usually realize what I’ve done after a ring or two, but this time it took a recorded voice that didn’t belong to Jackie to snap me back. The number belongs to someone else now.

I’ve had to remove Jackie’s email from lots of lists…everything from my annual fundraising email blasts to evites. Every time I’ve had to delete her name, I’ve cried. But it’s had to be done. The emails bounce back, and seeing her name on an invite list would jar all of my friends. But removing her name from my cell phone speed dial is something I haven’t been able to do. I can’t even delete her voice mails.

Jackie's voicemails

As we come up on the fourth anniversary of Madeline’s death, my emotions are right on the surface. I’m terribly sad but lately the anger is stronger than anything else. Anger that Maddie isn’t living and experiencing new things, anger that Jackie isn’t enjoying the life she always wanted, anger that there are gaping holes in the world.

Anger that there is really, truly, nothing I can do to change it.

I want to talk to Jackie, and have her comfort me through this hellish week. I want to feel my five-year-old squirm away from too many kisses. I want to hear my kids fight, and make up, and fight again. I just…want it to be different.

Yesterday, the world lost another wonderful person to cancer, someone who was always a generous and considerate friend to me, and a strong and kind supporter of Jackie’s, too. I’m tired of the fact that people die. I hate that there’s another hole in the world. I hate that there’s another number in my phone book that will someday belong to someone else.

It should be simple to remove those numbers, but I can’t. It’s little, but it’s not. It’s too final. I’m not ready. I’d rather just be angry.