Each year that I read this (and it is now five) I am struck by how close to the initial feeling I still have, how it is now my core, how those first four months of aftermath set the tone for my moving forward.
The sentiment is the same.
I wish you could see.
I couldn’t be this person if you had survived, I wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t have to be.
I wonder if you knew the electricity and wonderment and sheer delight others know to be my truth; I have to believe we had that, too, once upon a time.
How good was my best back then? How close to this could you possibly have seen back then? I guess it must have been something because we met and fell in love and you told me so eleven days later.
I wish I could talk to that girl that I was that person who was running on full-blown mania 100% of the time. I have so much to tell her.
Gary, my love.
Four months ago today you left this Earth.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss you, that I don’t think about you, that I don’t have something to share with you.
I’ve grown stronger, and softer, and wiser. I’ve grown in ways you would expect, be proud of. Become even more resilient, because I’ve had to. You always had my back even when neither of us knew it. Even when it was too difficult to say so, to share so.
I’ve met people who you would like, who you would love, and I’ve told them so. I’ve made changes; some small, some not-so. Evolved, mostly. Become, more. The way The Velveteen Rabbit Became.
Anyone I let into This Widow’s Life has to measure up to your memory, is judged against your bar, and a very high bar it is indeed. I can reach it on tiptoe, in bare feet. You remain the smartest man I’ve ever met. The most difficult partner I’ve ever had. The most worth-it partner. You had to be, we had to be, for me to not give up, for us to not give up. And we never did.
I tolerate less, and more. Funny, that. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, stand firm, hold my ground. I give no quarter; this far and no further.
Those I have let in, those few, I think they know, I think they realize what a gift it is. You did. Even though it wasn’t until the very very end. So bittersweet; but I am not bitter.
I love you, more.