Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Hi Babe,
We went to one of your favorite places this weekend--the beach where you and I spent some of our happiest days back before our daughter, before cancer--just the two of us and our hapless adopted dog, the one who couldn't be let off the leash except for on this one desolate beach. It was so strange to be there--to visit places I had only ever been with you, and to be there with our little girl, and with a new dog. I felt so acutely the loss of you, and the loss of so much from the era of my life, in spite of all that I have gained. It felt like a betrayal, visiting restaurants and shops where you and I had spent time. Yet I managed to enjoy myself; which makes me feel worse.

Your daughter is now 5, which means that she has lived more of her life with you gone than she got to live with you. This makes me sad, and furious. She is so much like you, and I can't help but imagine all the ways you and she would make each other happy. I know that I would feel left out, and that she and I would not have quite the bond we do if she had you around; you had a greater sense of wonder, an ability to lose yourself in watching a small, beautifully textured caterpillar, a disregard for things like getting to school on time. With you here, she'd have so many more opportunities to ask those pesky "why" questions and to get better answers: why we have gravity, why we can't see the world turn, why plastic ponies have purple hair, why some people have papas and some don't.

We spent the weekend with several good friends. At one point, one of the husbands spent some time downstairs with our daughter, playing "Daddy." She said, "I'll call you Daddy, and you help me mow the lawn." It's good that she has (and I have) these warm, gentle men who will help a lonely girl and her lonely mama with the "man tasks." And it's good that she knows that a Papa is a great thing to have, and that hers was among the best. But for me, there were many, many tears in the shower.

This is our third Christmas without you. That seems impossible, yet there it is. You have been showing up in my dreams a lot, lately, looking healthy. And I am having more and more spontaneous memories of the good times, before cancer, so that in my memories, you look happy and well--even a bit plump, at times. These memories make me afraid; it feels as though you are getting ready to move on to wherever you go once you've been gone so long that, awful as it is, your absence has become normal. I can barely remember being happy any more; I'm not unhappy, exactly, but it feels like I've been lugging around all this sorrow and weight forever, and that my life with you wasn't quite real. I want to remember the realness: the fights, the mishaps, the dozen different little ways in which our lives meshed together. But it gets fuzzier, and more and more like a movie montage, but without the appropriate soundtrack. Please don't go too far away, wherever you are going--we need you still, and we love you.

Your girls

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At 2:09 PM , Blogger flossie said...

That was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it with us.

At 5:43 PM , Blogger Snickollet said...

"I can barely remember being happy any more."

I can totally relate. For me, that lack of being able to feel happy just adds to the surreality of my life with John before cancer. Could I ever have been that happy? Did that really happen to me?

I've been thinking of you and your daughter--and your husband--a lot during this holiday season. I have more than enough sadness for all of us.

John and I had a special beach, too, for the record.

At 8:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful letter.

At 10:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot pretend to know what you are going through but by reading your letter I do have a small glimpse of your pain.
Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.
I know one day your daughter will cherish what a strong mother she has.

At 12:45 PM , Blogger Yankee T said...

I send my love. It's all I have to offer.

At 2:10 PM , Anonymous Mme X said...

With grief and love.

At 12:53 AM , Blogger Team Gherkin said...

Thank so much for sharing your heart with us that way. I deeply appreciate some of the inner turmoils you must be going through. [[[hugs]]] to you both.

At 12:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fair winds will fill your sails again.

Meanwhile, keep rowing, dammit!


At 4:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He'll be with you as long as you need him, whenever you need him. No matter how many years pass, or how your life changes, he'll be there. Today, tomorrow, a year from now, ten years from now, or in the far off future when you are a grey-haired little old grandmother chasing after her grandchildren -- when you *need* him he will come, from wherever he is, and comfort you.

At 11:51 PM , Blogger Julia said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking, all in one.
I am sorry your memory is playing a trick on you. I understand wanting to have the real picture, something with depth and dimension, to hold on to. If you need to, you can tell us about some of those grainy moments, the fights, arguments, something. Maybe it will help.


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