Saturday, August 31, 2013

Phil Day

Today is the eighth anniversary of my Phil's death. Taryn has graciously shared her blog day with me, so that I can post the annual letter I write to Phil on this day. Thank you, my friend.

Dear Honey,

Eight years have come and gone since you last laughed out loud at a joke that only you thought was funny. Eight years have passed since I last held your hand, or kissed that beautiful brown face of yours. Eight years have slipped by since you jumped out from behind a bush to scare the daylights out of me. Eight years have been lived since the day you went out for a bike ride, and never came home.

Each year as this day approaches, my awareness of how near you are to me is heightened. I hear your voice in my ear; I notice things you'd love (like phone apps for'd be ecstatic about the kind of data that can be collected now!); moments I have forgotten come back to me with surprising clarity; and somehow, during the month of August, I feel you just around every corner. Your presence feels certain to me as the anniversary of your death draws near, which probably makes no sense, but I have given up trying to intellectualize the things I *know* about you in this 'after' I am living.

This year I find myself contemplating the many gifts that have come to me since you left my side. I've been blessed with the opportunity to do work that feeds my soul. In my own small way, I have the chance to change the world.  You always believed that I could change the world, ironically, while you were alive I didn't have a clue how.

Buried beneath the horror of losing you, were the seeds to the future I would never have imagined. The digging out of those seeds hurt so much. The fear of experiencing more excruciating pain caused me to hold those seeds in my hand for a long time before I found the courage to plant them. Once the seeds of my future were tucked into the chaotic dirt left in the wake of your death, I wasn't sure what would grow. But I could hear your voice telling me not to give up. I could feel your belief in me so strongly, even as I actively doubted my ability to grow anything of worth in the wake of losing you.

But you knew. You knew what I could do if only I would believe. At first I couldn't believe in myself, but I held on to your belief in me until those first green sprouts found their way out of that putrid earth pile that your loss created. I stood in wonder when I realized that beauty could truly grow out of tragedy. Looking at my life now, I envision the good around me as incredibly resilient flowers grown from the tragedy that occurred on August 31, 2005. In many ways, I see my current life as a gift from you.

You see, you believed in me so fiercely that you created a foundation of certainty on which I could build a new and amazing life. The love you were able to shower on me during our five short years together, has watered the seeds of my future. Thank you, my love, for giving me so much more than I could comprehend at the time, and for knowing that I would not just survive your loss, but that I would build something worthwhile on the foundation you created for me. I love you not only for who you have been in my past, but also for what you have provided for my future.

Now and forever grateful for you,



  1. So very grateful that your love of Phil gave you the courage to plant those seeds ... the bounty of which so many of us have used to sustain us during the hardest times of our lives. Widowed Village, Camp Widow, Widow's Voice have served as my lifeline. I've just made an "8" donation to Soaring Spirits in honor of Phil Day and YOU, dear Michele. Thank you for all you do, for all you are ♥

  2. Thank you Michele for planting seeds of hope and courage at Camp Widow.
    Maria O

  3. I just found your blog,, I was looking for some one who was going through the same thing I husband passed away this still hurting and grieving I dont think ill ever be ok again....hopefully ill be just like you one day have the courage to plant my seeds...

  4. Your words are so eloquent. I'm sorry for your loss; for our losses; yet your loss has been our gain. (I hope that came across okay). I would not wish this kind of loss on anyone. You and Soaring Spirits gives me the ability to go on, day after day, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to help in my own small way; just living my life without my Don. And even though somehow I always knew I'd outlive him, I just didn't expect it to happen so young - do any of us? Thank you, Michele, for what you do, and who you are. Your Phil would be - and is as he watches over you - so proud of you.

  5. I read your post with sadness and gladness. Sadness for the similarities in the "last" things you remember from 8 years ago. For I am only 2 months out, and I also lost my husband on a bike ride that he never came home from. I read it with gladness because, like you, I have to have HOPE that new growth will sprout from this putrid earth. Your letters to your husband are a beautiful idea and I think I will write one each year on the "anniversary date" too. Thank you.

  6. When this posted, I was at the hardware i decided to wait to read it.
    You are changing the world, Michele. You, and your contagious crazy belief in Hope! You, in the putrid earth of your loss, helped me to know that I could drop the seeds, too. From the most foul thing imaginable, could spring forth love, strength and such peace and beauty!
    I thought my life was over on May 29, 2012. Thank you for being my light in the darkness. And for proving that we can go on, we can be strong, we can be light to others!
    Phil is proud, and I thank him for loving and believing in you!
    Dana still shakes his head at me, but he smiles when he does it, cause he always did.
    You ROCK Michele, and I thank you.

  7. "Now and forever grateful for YOU" Michele. Thank you, I wouldn't be where I am today w/o you and all others who write and comment on this site. I do so admire that you have reached out to all of us in your grief, helping hands go a long way around the world because of you. Once again, thank you.

  8. this is so so beautiful, as are you, my friend. Don believed in me in the way that Phil believed in you. Thank you for helping me see how much that truly matters, well after they are "gone."

  9. Thank you to Phil for being the person that inspired you to live the life that provides help so many others. I am raising my coffee cup in a toast to Phil. A man I never met but who has had a part in keeping me alive these last 19 months. To Phil. Thank you.

    1. A lovely response to this 2013 blog post, Wendy. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved over to the Soaring Spirits web site. You'll find them here: