January was a tough month. Every day it seemed a celebrity died. But the one goodbye that hits hard for my family is my uncle Earl. He would have been 95 in March and we’ll have a memorial on his birthday weekend. I am hoping to go to Washington DC for that.

I talked to my aunt yesterday who is the last of nine still with us. She’s having a tough time as the two of them were so very close. I told her that when we love someone as much as she loved Earl it’s like there’s an Earl-shape in her heart that’s empty and needs to be filled. We all have those empty spaces that need filling. We can fill them with memories and stories and doing the things we liked to do together. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t help to think of filling that space because then they will always be with us.

My aunt and I shared stories and we laughed and had such a good time filling our Earl-shaped spaces.

Last week I asked Gary to make a meme for me to use on my publishing Facebook page. For some people, losing a beloved dog is as bad or worse than losing a person. I won’t think about when Coconut needs to leave me.

My cousin Vince Burton shared last year that their dog died. I never met Taz, but from the photos and stories I would have liked that dog. Coconut would have enjoyed playing with him I think. Vince now has two spaces to fill because his dad is Earl.

When I saw this meme I decided to tag Vince, Tony Burton, Laura Burton, Adele Burton, and Evie Burton. But there are so many other family and friends who have lost someone this year.

I need to get out at night and look at the stars and think of Earl and my mom and dad and brother and so many others. I hope you look at the stars and think of those who have passed away and are shining to let us know they are happy.