It is customary in life to remind ourselves of important events through anniversaries. Some are obligatory, which we mark on a calendar, while others are permanently etched into the stony foundation of our minds, whether through joy or pain. Today is such a day for me, for ten years ago this very day, I awoke to find my precious love Allie dead on our bathroom floor. An accidental but lethal combination of opiates and cough medicine shut down her breathing, and she passed quietly and gently through the veil. She was 41.
It’s not fair that I would go on to live another decade and have to do so without her, but I have. And now I sit here looking back at the joy she was to me and how very lucky I was to have been loved by her. Alicia Faith Smith was a tough as nails reporter with a grace under fire that all of those who worked with her knew well. With me, however, she was innocent and sweet, and she approached every moment with a joyful, golly-gee energy that was priceless and wonderful. I wish everyone could have known that about her. She was goofy and funny, and she leaned on me for a steadiness that grounded her every adventure. In her, I knew the truth of unconditional love.
She was my Allie, and there’ll never be another like her. My favorite picture of her hangs over my shoulder, and I look at it often. I remember the moment it was taken. She comes to me in the night season, in dreams to quiet my sometimes troubled soul. I see her in the sunrise and feel her in the energy before a storm. Every dragonfly reminds me of her, for she had a special bond with these creatures. Her kisses were so sweet, and I miss especially the closeness I felt when lying with her. I read the Bible to her every night, and she would always whine and beg for “another chapter.” She called me “Papi,” and she was my papoose.
While my memories of this day are mostly sad, the outpouring of love that day from my online community was just remarkable, and it wouldn’t be right for me to note this anniversary without that. Alicia knew many, many people, and the love expressed for her and me that day was truly incredible. This was before Facebook, Twitter, and all we know as “social” media. My blog post that day received nearly 300 comments, and those thoughts sustained me through what was a horrible 24 hours.
If you knew Allie, you were lucky. She had a way of touching everybody she met, and the world was a better place with her in it.
I’ll see you soon, my precious papoose, where there’ll be no end to the extra chapters. Until then, I will always love you and miss you.