"Look! It's the Boston ducks!" you said to me, as you excitedly pointed at a mug with ducks on it. "The...what?" I looked at my (then) boyfriend and his mum, both shrugging at me. "The ducks! You lived in Boston, right? The Boston ducks! The duck tour? The ducks from the book?" I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about, except that you knew I lived in Boston for 6 months when I was a kid. Even after we eventually got more of an explanation about the Boston ducks, it never really mattered. This would always be our point of reference when we didn't know what you were talking about. We'd all look at each other and say "The Boston ducks!" and you would smile too.
I feel like I need to replay these scenes in my head over and over, recall the sound of your voice, try to remember every single detail of the past 16 years with you as I try to figure out how to do this without you. As I go through each day, I realise that you are everywhere now.
You are your grandson who also has thick, spiky hedgehog hair. You are your granddaughter when she wrinkles her nose at pasta. You are your youngest granddaughter who would happily eat nothing but cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are your youngest son in a million "it's a Durbin man thing" ways.
Every day when I get my shoes out of the exceptionally clever cupboard you made just for me, you are there.
You are in mind when I look out the window and think about what I'm going to plant this year. I won't have my "toh-may-to" basket from you which, to be honest, was the only thing that ever really thrived in my garden. I will try my best to make something grow out of the advice you gave me. I wish I'd paid more attention.
When I get my morning cereal, I see your big box of Weetabix in my cupboard. I think it's probably out of date now, if such a thing is possible with Weetabix. But I'm not going to get rid of it just yet.
You will be with us in Toronto where you went to summer camp and learned how to swim with a kid called Bobby (or 'baaaah-bee' as you laughed), and you had your first taste of chocolate milk.
I sometimes roll my eyes at how we now only seem to see the world through the lens of a mobile phone, but it means that I don't have to look very hard to find you. You're dotted throughout my camera roll and the folders on my Macbook. Thanks to our online life, a lot of people you never met have been asking about you. I'm proud to introduce you to them.
For as long as these things are around and we remember, you will be here. We will talk about you and smile about you, then our kids will tell their kids, and you will still be here.
And we will always smile about the Boston ducks, even though it still doesn't make any sense to anyone.