I can’t believe it’s been two years that I’ve been without you. Sometimes it feels like it just happened. Sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago.
I won’t lie. It’s been a rough year. Maybe even harder than the first. I was still very numb then. This second year, the reality set in that you are gone. You are never coming back. I will never see your face or hear your voice again. What if I live to 85? That’s 50 years without you. That thought is like a cold, dark winter in my heart.
I spent the first half of this past year bitter and angry. Pissed off. Robbed of my happily ever after. I was mad at the constant feeling of being overwhelmed by life. I was resentful of happy families. I pushed people away. I was distant to everyone.
You wouldn’t have liked me.
I didn’t like me.
So I did some things to change. I got a job. I went back to school. A whole new profession that I love. You always talked about the importance of loving what you do. I moved us out of the big house that required so much work and into a townhouse where I don’t have to worry about anything. I enrolled Julia in preschool.
A calm started to set in. I finally felt some purpose, some normalcy again. I am finally starting to get it together.
And I opened up my heart and let someone else in. I struggled at first with how I could possibly have feelings for another man when I love you so much, and when my heart is still aching. But my heart has room, you know. And I know you would want this for me. He’s good to me. And he’s good to our girl.
I still miss you every single moment of every day.
I cling to things that are tied to you. I have an old skirt. The orange one with ovals. I don’t really wear it much anymore, but you loved that skirt. I can never get rid of it. On cold days, I wrap myself in your Sports Illustrated sweatshirt. Julia and I watch The Stooges. I can’t bring myself to toss Julia’s bathing suit from two summers ago, green with white polka dots, because you knew her in that bathing suit. You saw her wear it. I can’t throw it away.
You should see her now. You would be so enamored by her, I just know. She’s going to start kindergarten in the fall. Kindergarten! Can you believe it? She is a bit of a goofball, kind of like you. She likes to wear a cape and dig for worms in the yard. She tells jokes that make no sense. She dances like Elaine from Seinfeld. She’s quite the character. Quirky. Unique. A joy.
She’s so smart, Michael. It’s scary. But really, did we expect any different? I got some books to help her learn to read before kindergarten and she sat down, opened the book and read them. Just like that. Her teacher says she really likes science. She likes to investigate and explore and get her hands dirty. I’m hoping this means she won’t be a journalist.
I haven’t been the best mom to her. But I’m getting better. We’ve gotten into a nice groove and have a good little relationship going. She’s scared something will happen to me.
I needed you this year when her preschool teacher thought there might be something wrong with her. She wasn’t very social in school and had some odd behaviors. I had to get reassurance from the doctor and a grief counselor because you weren’t here to tell me everything was ok. It’s just her personality. She’s fine. I can almost hear you saying it.
I’m afraid she doesn’t remember much about you. I keep talking, hoping she’ll know you through me. I told her about you getting the snake out of our house and how you rode your bike across the country and how you had a funny tennis serve.
In a week or so, we’re going to be scattering your ashes in the ocean along the Outer Banks. It was such a happy place for us and I know you’ll be at peace there. But I still like to think of you watching over us, looking down at us, smiling, shaking your head perhaps. I wish you would come to me in my dreams though. I would do anything to see your face and hear your voice. One more time