• Taya Dunn Johnson


I had a friend recently ask me what I missed most about my husband. That’s easy – everything. No. Wait. Way too easy. Stock answer. And kind of a lie. The more I thought about it, my list became so long that I started writing. I appreciate those that read my rambling thoughts. I wish I could say that I proofread the hell out of what I write here, but I don’t. I heard once that when Jay Z goes into the studio to record, he lays down his vocals in just one take, no matter what flows out. That’s the way I write. Things come out in a frenzy, then I’ll add pics, font colors, etc but I rarely go back to make content edits.

I write a lot of my thoughts on my blog, pour many into a novel that I’m writing and leave the rest in my personal journal. I’ve been keeping journals since I was 12 and there is a certain purity in the handwritten thoughts on the pages. Human nature tends to canonize those that die with an unnatural sainthood that surely didn’t exist in their life. I can see how this happens. There is a fight for space on the shelves of our brain. Old memories vs. new experiences. It’s so very easy to disregard the bad and only hold on to the good. Forgotten are the arguments, the dislikes, the pet peeves and even the things that pushed a relationship to the brink of destruction. No, those dirty memories are swept out like dusty cobwebs that have no place in a clean house. Instead, the highs are spit shined and elevated upon a pedestal.

Sure, I could write chapter and verse about the quirks, habits and flaws that my husband had. Just as I’m sure he could have written an equally long list about me. Neither list diminishes our love or our marriage. He left the toilet seat up no matter how many times I asked him to put it down. He left his wet towel on the bed even when I fussed and nagged enough to get on my OWN damn nerves. When asked what movie he wanted to see, his pat response was always, “It doesn’t matter babe, you pick”, yet ten minutes after my selection, he’d whisper, “You should have picked XYZ Action Movie”. ERGH!!! But, to have him back in the land of the living, I’d sit in one hundred bowls of icy toilet water, lay/lie comfortably on soggy sheets and watch all day marathons of bad action movies. In exchange for the best, I would GLADLY welcome the worst.

The best??? What do I miss the most?? That’s almost like trying to count the grains in a bag of rice. So many things to consider but I keep going back to one thing. I’ve been enjoying a song for the last few months, called, “Gonna Be Alright” by the artist Ledisi, from the Robert Glasper Experiment called Black Music.

Just bring me the sunshine with your smile, I’ll be ok.”

No matter if the rain falls, if you call, I’ll be ok”

His smile. Of all the things that I miss, it strikes me several times a day how much I miss his smile. For those that never had the opportunity meet him and have only seen pictures, they don’t do his smile justice. You know the corny line about lighting up a room? Yup, his smile could actually do that. The way my husband smiled at me made me feel loved, cherished, beautiful, safe and special. He called me “Teeth” because of the way I smile for pics. I suppose I should have called him “Cheeks”.

On our wedding day, DaddyTDJ walked me down a long aisle and then up a curving staircase. I’m a natural clutz and for days prior to the wedding, I had visions of myself tripping up the steps, and becoming a fast moving puff of white rolled back down, taking out my daddy and the first two rows of guests. MrTDJ thought it was the funniest thing ever and teased me in those pre-wedding days. Talk about speaking things into existence – during the rehearsal the night before, it happened. Yup, I tripped and fell. Really hard. Doh!!! I started to second guess the logistics of my wedding ceremony less than 24 hours til go time. Until he called. My entire bridal party was sleeping at Diamond Diva’s house and he called. We chatted for a few brief minutes and he said what I needed to hear, “Stop worrying and just keep your eyes on me. I got you.”

And I believed him. I knew that he really did have me. I’d given him my heart when I really didn’t even know what it meant to do so. And he’d always handled it with care. I trusted him with the core of ME and he’d protected it like a warrior. When DaddyTDJ and I got ready to take the first step, I lifted the edge of my dress and locked eyes with my husband to be. His face was damp with tears, but there was that smile. Full, broad, open, genuine, contagious, and heart-warming. I made it to the top with ease. Because he had me.

Today is the 9th anniversary of our wedding. It is my 2nd without him. 15 months without him. I try to end most of my writings with a bit of positive thought. A ray of hope. Let me muster some up. I think I did a little better last year. Click here to read it . This year is different. Everything feels more real than it felt last year. In September 2012, I was up to my eyeballs in transitions, adjustments, legal and financial matters, so I was getting through the hours but somehow I was able to cheerlead a little on my own behalf. My pom poms are a bit deflated today, but that’s ok. I’m broken but not destroyed. I’m going to try to smile today. I can’t promise that it will reach my eyes, but I will try. I challenge you to smile your most genuine grin at one stranger and at one person you love. It will make all 3 of you feel better!

Taya Dunn Johnson, www.TayaDunnJohnson.com