Monday, February 22, 2010

Do You Mind?

Hi honey,

It has been such a long time since I have written you a letter. In fact, my eyes are welling up now realizing that I talk to you all the time in my heart but those words are no longer committed to paper. Remember the letters I wrote to you every day for the first year? I spilled my frustrations, feelings, fears, and memories across every page. More often than not the ink ran because I cried all over the journal paper as I scribbled frantically all the words I desperately wished I could speak into your ear.

In the last four and a half years the pain of your death has changed for me. My heart has healed some, and the open wound that used to bleed all over the place has slowly been stitched up by time, leaving a scar that permanently altered the shape of my heart. At first I held on fiercely to the pain of losing you because it was the only way I knew how to hold onto you. When I felt miserable I somehow associated that with being loyal to you and to us and to all that we were supposed to be. I feared happiness more than I feared loneliness. I would have rather been dead than alive, and was seriously annoyed by the fact that I kept waking up every day. But slowly I have found reasons to live, despite the void that losing you has caused.

There have been times over the years when I just wanted to ask you one question. The urgent thing I needed to ask has changed a million times, but the desire to ask just one more thing remains. So today I have one really important question to ask, and since you haven't yet materialized for our meeting (and I loved that one dream when you did...why did you only show up once?!) I have decided that I will resort to letter writing once again.

I know that you watch me, and the kids...I feel you now and then as if you are standing over my shoulder...and I know you have met Michael and that you've even had a few talks with him. But what I want to know is this: do you mind?

Do you mind that I hold his hand like I used to hold yours? Do you mind that his arms have begun to feel like a place I could call home? Do you mind that there was a time that I could never imagine loving someone as much as I love you, but I do love him that much? Do you mind that he sleeps on your side of the bed? Do you mind that he bought me a gorgeous engagement ring with the same center stone as the one you bought me? Do you mind that he thinks I am a princess too? Do you mind that he knows that in many ways your loss is his gain? Do you mind that I took him to the lake with our best friends, and we had a great time? Do you mind that I love that he doesn't think sleeping past 8:00AM on Saturday morning is a mortal sin? Do you mind that I am relieved to have a partner that loves to dance? Do you mind that he takes me to sushi at our favorite place? Do you mind that I added photos of him and I next to the photos of you and I that are spread all over the house? Do you mind that he helped pick out Caitlin's car, a job you would have surely done. Do you mind that when someone says the word husband, I am beginning to associate that word with him? Do you mind that his love has helped me to see the future in a sweeter light?

And, yes, I know that is more than one question.

In addition to the questions burning to be answered are the things I am desperate for you to know. Here they are in no particular order: I love you, and I will love you into eternity. Loving you changed me. Losing you changed me. I can feel you when I run, and hear your voice. Please stop being so bossy. I am still afraid to say good-bye to you. My heart sometimes aches for you so much that I feel it is breaking all over again. Moving forward is really hard. I miss your laugh, and your giant smile. The kids miss you, and we talk about you every day. Your family is not the same without you. My family is not the same without you. Our friends speak of you often, always with love and admiration. You have a 5K dedicated to your memory. I know you want me to run on dirt more often than asphalt when training for the marathon. Some days I still forget that I can't call you to tell you something funny. Michael admires you, and knows that you will always have a place in my heart...I have a scar to prove it. Your life meant something to so many people. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be your wife, and when I get married again I will need to know you are somewhere near, smiling. You taught me to be willing to take risks. I hope you are proud of how far I have come, and that you know I take you with me wherever I go.

And I have an answer for you. Remember when you asked me if I knew in advance that our marriage was going to end after a short time, would I be willing to marry you anyway? The day you asked that question I couldn't commit to an answer. I wasn't sure if the pain of divorcing (because of course I didn't even think about death) would be worth a short time of loving bliss. Today I know better. The answer is yes. I would marry you all over again, and live through this whole god awful experience, just to love and be loved by you.

The thing is, deep down I know the answers to all my questions...I just wish I could hear you say the words.

I love you,



  1. Oh, Michelle, I have written this letter to Larry in my mind so many times.
    I wept as I read what I could not express on paper.
    Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. Oh boy did this strike home. Thank you.

  2. Michelle... I cannot thank you enough for sharing your heart with us. I am in tears. I, too, write to My Rick... although what was once a 'daily' ritual, has become somewhat more sporadic (much guilt associated with this!)... I am happy that you have found "true love" again... and ECSTATIC that 'both loves' are able to co-exist... Thank you, again... Your writing truly moves me.

  3. Not long after my late husband was diagnosed, he confided to me that he hated the idea of spending his eternity watching me have a new life, get married again (he was sure that I would and wanted me to even) and basically just go on. He knew these things would occur and as much as he wanted me to be happy and loved again, it was still hard for him to internalize.

    I've been remarried for almost 3 years. Last summer, my husband reported a dream he'd had about my late husband (it's not the first one either) where they were having lunch together and discussing me and my daughter. My late husband was pleased with the job my current husband was doing - especially in the fatherhood department.

    Some people might say the dreams was just a product of my current husband's imagination, but I believe that my late husband does stop by to offer his encouragement and to let us know that he is okay with the way things are.

    This was a beautiful post.

  4. That was one of the most touching things I have ever read.

  5. Once again Michele...I felt every bit a part of that post. Beautiful..

  6. Beautifully written Michele. I am especially moved by the words you write about fearing happiness more than loneliness. While it is still very early in my grieving process, I too fear happiness, as it feels very uncomfortable right now. I can enjoy life with a measure of joy when with my kids, but otherwise feel more at ease with calm, quiet and numb.

    I look forward to the day that I allow myself to give space between myself and the pain. Until then, hearing from those that are further along, helps me know where I am headed.

    Congratulations on your engagement. What a blessing.

  7. i shouldn't have read this at work. i have a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. thank you, once again and as always, for saying the things and asking the questions we all want to.

  8. Made me just cry,for two reasons,could definitely feel the love that youcannot part with, but also the current love that you so need.
    Really heart wrenching! and no one but a widow would understand and appreciate the agony and the ecstacy of a second love. I believe I am still in love with my man and not able to move on. but the reality could be that I might have both. I have to be patient with my heart and accept that I need to be loved by more than a memory. So huge that there is a possibility of new love beyond the passion I had.

  9. A RING!!! I'm very happy for you. What a beautiful letter. I'm sure that he doesn't mind.

    Heck, I think he'd be darn proud of you.