Thursday, June 1, 2017

Six months without you/ Ten years turn to forever

Dear Tony,

Today marks six months that you have been gone. Six months have passed since you left and they carried your body away from me. The sheet covering you made me want to vomit because my agony was so overwhelming. Later that week when I closed your casket, I had to be alone so no one could see me gaze at you, longing that this was all just a dream.

But it's not a dream. In six months there has been a lot of change. We made it through two seasons, through the school year, through holidays and birthdays, through baseball season. I gave birth to our beautiful son Caleb. His little body is so strong and healthy and perfect. He has your lips and your nose. He is starting to coo and giggle, and every time he grins, I think of you. I think of you snuggling with him on our bed, talking to me about your day while we split a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I wish you could be here with him, with all of us.

In six months we have made it through a lot of tears, many from me, and so many from our children. They ache for you. They want to make you proud and I assure them that you are still and will always be so incredibly proud of them. They are such good kids, Tony. I see so much of you in every single one of them. I've had to change as a parent, and it's been difficult. I'm now both mom and dad to them. On some days I appreciate stepping into that roll as I learn new things about myself and learn to connect with our kids in a different way. But there are those days when I lay the kids in bed and wonder if I am enough for them. I know I'm not--- but that because you are their father and are here for them that together we can be enough and God will make up the difference. I'm not sure how it all works out but my trust in this whole plan is as strong as my desire to see you again.

I've also had to change as a person. When we married, we changed together as we were forming our new identity as a couple. Now that you are gone and it's just me, I've had to find who I am all over again. I have a long way to go and I hope those around me can continue to be patient with me, especially our kids. Through all this, I know God intends for me to change for the better; I hope I am starting to do that and that he is pleased in my efforts, and that you are proud of me, too.

Next week we celebrate our 10th anniversary! So far, I've been okay through all the celebrations and holidays since you've gone but our anniversary, especially the decade milestone, is hard without you here. When you died, all my hopes and dreams for us in this life died with you. I grieve you and I grieve the loss of our dreams together. Part of my heart died with you as well and now I am trying to strengthen and stretch the half that is left.

On the days that are hardest, I wonder if you will still love me when I die. I know it is so silly. I miss your reassuring voice and the sweet notes you often sent to me. The small things hurt the most: hearing a song on the radio, seeing your car in the driveway, watching other dads play at the park with their kids. I miss so much about you, even the obnoxious things you would do to tease me! I miss the most watching you with our kids and seeing how much you love being their father. And I sure miss talking about anything and everything while squeezing your left hand tightly into mine: our hands are a perfect fit. When I see you next, I will throw my arms around you and won't ever let go. I miss you so much and wonder if you miss me, too.

Ten years ago, if I knew this is where life would take us, I would choose you all over again. Even with the agony of grief deep inside I know we have each other forever. It will all be worth it. It will all work out. God's plan is perfect and what keeps me afloat is my unfaltering trust in Him. One day, I will look back on these moments with deep gratitude and with prayers of thanksgiving because they will lead me back to you, and most importantly, back to God.

I'm sending this letter to you and these pictures: the first from ten years ago and one of our beautiful family now. Maybe you will visit me in my dreams? I just want to hold your hand and see you smile at me with your perfect blue eyes and to hear your voice, even if just for a moment.

I love you even more each day.