Seven totally selfish reasons I miss P:
1. There's no one here to distract G for 20 minutes while I take a shower.
2. There's no one to back me up when I tell her she has to do something, or alternatively, when I tell her she can't do something.
3. If I want a soda at 11 p.m., I can neither go out and get it myself nor send someone else to get it.
4. There's no one to remind me of things, like when school conference day is or the fact that we desperately need more toilet paper.
5. On a related note, half of my collective memory is gone; I can't ask anyone, for example, "Did we go to San Francisco in 1997 or 1998?" or "Who the heck gave us these plates?"
6. There's no one else to answer when G says "Hey, guess what?" or "Look at this!"
7. I can't tell someone a story about my day without first having to spend 10 minutes explaining who everyone is and how they know each other.
Of all these, no. 5 is easily the worst. Now that P is gone, none of our past -- everything we did together, all the conversations we had, all the inside jokes and shorthand and things that only we two knew about -- exists anyplace outside my own memory. I've got no backup copy, no witness for the defense, no one who can say "Yes, that's how it happened" or "No, you've got it wrong." Who else remembers the night G was born, or the grumpy old people who lived upstairs at our first apartment, or how P wrote his initials on his pillow with a Sharpie so I'd stop taking it by accident? No one. If I want to reminisce about those things, I have to do it alone, and when I die, they'll all go with me, as if none of them ever happened. As if we never happened.
G will forget what it was like when we were all a family together, and that's probably for the best; she can't miss what she doesn't remember. But God, I wish it weren't all on me to remember everything myself, to be the sole repository of our history. It's a job better shared, if there's someone to share it with, and a lonely task to shoulder on your own.