Letter #1: where the journey begins (written within the first 4 days after he passed and read at his memorial service)
I miss you so much. You are the love of my life - my great love story. There is this poster I purchased when I was in college by photographer Robert Doisneau called "The Kiss by Townhall" that hangs in our house. It's a poster from the 1950's of a couple kissing in the bustling street of France. The couple is standing still, in each other's embrace and nothing mattered except them and the love they have for each other as the world is bustling around them. It caught my eye and took my breath away when I saw it on the way to class one day. It was the love story I wanted for myself, where nothing mattered and love was able to triumph and conquer all. It had always hung predominantly in my room since college and I've carried it with me ever since. When we moved into our first house, I again displayed it predominantly in our living room (of course without asking you). But overtime, I thought about taking it down since it was something that was just mine and maybe it would make more sense to put something that that was more representative of us since it was our living room, but you told me not to take it down and that you liked the poster exactly where it is. So, it remained there the entire time we lived at our first house and it was the first thing I hung up in our second home. Again it’s predominantly displayed in the entry way above the bench you were skeptical that I could reupholstered by myself from watching a youtube video, but of course you were always supportive of anything I wanted to do even if you didn't always believe in me, you always indulged me. So, you took me to the home depot and helped me buy my first power tool so I could prove you wrong (which as you know I always loved to do). Now when I look at that poster, I realize that I did find that kind of love story when I met you--even if I didn't realize it until now.
Like I said in our wedding vows, "I don't believe in fairytales, but what we’ve built and created together over the years comes pretty close." You were my tall, dark, and handsome knight that rode up in a white horse and swept me off my feet. We loved each other on our best days and especially more on our worst days. You are my rock, the anchor that holds me steady. The calm when the storm is raging around me. I can’t even imagine a day without you--let alone the rest of my life. You made me so happy and we had so much love and laughter in our home. You made my heart so full and complete. Sometimes I would pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming, but it was all real. I have always felt that my cup has runneth over with you in my life and that I was the luckiest girl in the world to have found my true soul mate to take on the world with. We still had so many things left to do together and we had so many plans of what we wanted to do with our lives and with each other. Now these plans will go unfulfilled, we were robbed of our future together, and I will have to walk this road alone in the next journey I'm about to embark on. But, I will be strong for you and I know you will always be by my side holding my hand and giving me that warm beautiful smile of yours that just melts my heart.
I’ve looked back on our life in the last few months and I feel like the universe was preparing us for this moment but we just didn’t know it. We were the best versions of ourselves with each other and we had so many deep and philosophical conversations about us and our love (which is atypical of our never serious and always joking household). A few weeks ago, when we were watching TV, I turned to you and asked “how much do you love me today?” And your response was, “you can’t measure the depth of my love for you.” And I responded back with “What the heck are you talking about? Of course you can! Whenever I ask you this question before, you generally put out your hand and tell me, “Today I love you this much,” or sometimes you say, “Today, I only love you this much.” And then you responded with, “Today my response to you is that love is a feeling that cannot be measured and that my love for you is too deep to even consider measuring.” I laughed at you and said, “You are so weird today.” I look back now on these types conversations and understand that the universe was preparing us to say goodbye and having the closure one would need to overcome such a sudden and tragic event. I promise to be strong and continue to focus on all the love and laughter we’ve shared, and on the days I can't, I will let you and our love carry me through.
Before you passed, you griped both my shoulders while you were on your knees fighting to breathe and just stared into my worried and frightened eyes. I know all you could think about was me and what was going to happen to me--even when you were fighting for your own life; all you could do was think of me. I stared back at your worried eyes with only fear and terror as tears were rolling down my eyes. We were both speechless. I know it wasn't the goodbye we wanted, but in my heart, I know you were trying to let me know how much you loved me and how sorry you were for leaving me here all by myself to fend the world alone. My heart aches and yearns for you to hold me one more time. Just one more hug, one more kiss, one more i love you; just one more moment, one more day, one more year--just one more of anything. When I saw your lifeless body in the hospital, I just wanted to hold your hand and lay down right next to you so we both could wake up from this horrible nightmare. But, I truly believe that in life, we have a designated time frame we are here, and when it’s our time to go, we go. We don't get to choose when we come into the world or when we leave it, but everything in-between is for us to decide and to manifest our own destiny, and I know you did. You lived the best life you could and we had an amazing life in the short period we had with each other. You are loved by so many, and your beautiful smile, boisterous laughter, and charming personality could win over anybody’s heart, even my 84 year old grandmother adores you.
I know that right now it's been very hard for me, just getting out of bed and leaving the house has been very challenging, but I just want to let you know that I will find the strength and courage to stand on my own two feet again and celebrate your amazing life and our beautiful love story. The first night without you, you visited me in my dreams, and you looked happy and safe. I still continue to feel your presence and I know that your love continues to surround and consume me. I will find the strength and courage to take each moment and day one step at a time. Please continue to visit me in my dreams so I can tell u how much I love you, and you can smile back with that quirky smile of yours and say, “I know.” But babe, i have a score to settle with you when we see each other again. Just a few weeks ago, we were joking around about something and I told you that I would kill you if you ever made me a young widow. So babe, you better brace yourself for the reckoning that awaits you when we meet again. I promise you, it will be a good one because you know, I never leave a score unsettled with you.
I close with this quote from an anonymous source:
“the only way to get over a death is by seeing it as a life completed, instead of a life interrupted.”
I love you babe! You will always and forever be in my heart.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.