Tonight, as I think about 14 months without Peter, I write a letter to him.
So, this happened. You, dead. Me, still alive. Even after 14 months, I’m still in shock. I still cried about you, often. The tears still flow out of me during unexpected times and expected ones. I don’t cry though as frequently as when you first died. Those days I was a blubbering idiot. I’m not sure if time healed any wounds. I think time just band aided them and sometimes, that band aide gets ripped off so violently, I reel back from the shock of seeing the open wound of your absence, of my solo life lived now. I don’t think I’ll ever fully heal. How can I when part of me will always be gone? I think though, I hope though, I will learn to move without you in a pain that will never go away. I don’t know. I don’t know much about much anymore.
I’m kind of pissed at you. Let me rephrase that. I am very pissed at you. You were supposed to die after me. Remember? I told you time and time again, I couldn’t live without you. I wouldn’t know how to live without you. I was supposed to die first because you were always more independent than me, took care of everything for me, would have been okay without me. But me without you? That wasn’t the way I wrote the script to our lives, the script you fucked up. You changed our story, my story which, well, pisses me off.
I can see your crooked smile right now, the same one you gave me every time I asked you to promise you would outlive me. You would smile that smile and say, “I can’t promise that”. You weren’t lying. You couldn’t. And you didn’t. And sometimes, I scream at you on how unfair it was for you to go first, how selfish of you. I wonder if you even hear me. I wonder if God even hears me.
I used to have faith before you died, but that died too. I was mad at God for a long time after you died. I believed things happened for a reason, God had a purpose. Now, since you died, I’m doubting both. I mean, what could be the reason for taking a good man like you away from this world? What could the purpose in it? And if your death served a purpose I can’t see it. I mean, why did you have to die to prove any purpose? My faith is returning in bits and pieces and when it does, my doubts return and slap it back. But, I have grown stronger in looking for God in all of this. I do hate how your death took my once-faith away.
God, I miss you. I try to stay strong in front of our kids because, as I said in the beginning, they lost one parent, I’ll be damn if I am going to let them loose another, in any capacity. I suck it up, buttercup, and think I have to play the strong Mom role. You know me. I’ve never felt strong. Yet, since you died, I get out of bed and think I need to put on an act that goes against the protective bubble I once was in. Look at me. I am super Mom! I feel I have to be both Mom and Dad rolled into one. I put that on me. I try to be two parents in one – to present the wisdom and calm you once had, and the nurturing I always had. UGH! It makes me sick sometimes to think how I feel I must put on a pretense our kids never asked for, don’t need, and it drains all the time.
Since you died, I am exhausted. In so many different ways, I am tired. I’m tired from doing everything because nothing is divided up anymore and it’s all on me now. I’m tired from pushing my feelings aside so I can be strong for the kids. I am tired from putting on my super widow cape for all to admire. And I’m exhausted from trying to figure out who I am without you. It’s exhausting. I didn’t think at my age, I would have to redefine myself or work this hard on myself. Aren’t these the years we are supposed to be content in our skin? Well, that ain’t happening because my skin was ripped off when you died. I don’t know contentment anymore.
Shoot. This is a long letter. Remember the ones I used to write to you? The ones that went on and on? I saw you kept them when I went through your stuff. Thank you for that. And you know what? I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for being the kind of dad our kids want to mourn, for your love language to me, for showing me true love, for being faithful, for being gentle, and for providing for me in life as well in your death. Thank you for sticking it out in sickness and in health, for better for worse and only having death part us. There are times when I am awed by the blessing of our time together. Not many people are as lucky as we were to have what we did. I’m only wish I told you more of this while you were alive. We take so much for granted, don’t we? There always seems to be a tomorrow, until there isn’t one.
I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few years. I’m scared. I hope you’re proud of how much I have accomplished and how I’ve carried on without you. I have pride in me. I do. As the months go on, I grow prouder. I am not the woman you married. How can I be anymore? The woman you married had you as part of her definition. But you’re gone now, and I have to let go of your part to grow a new part in me. I hate it. I don’t want it. I never asked for it. But here it is.
I suppose anything else I write would be redundant, so I will leave you with these final thoughts. You were the best person I ever had in my life. I’m still IN LOVE with you. Not just love you, but IN LOVE with you. My passion has not died because you have. Maybe it will eventually. Not the love part, but the passion. Or maybe it won’t as you will always be the love of my life. I don’t know. Until then, I will keep on keeping on. I mean, I have done a kick ass job of surviving without you. And I am putting my all into moving past surviving to living again. It’s going to take time and it’ll be painful and exhausting, yet I have to. You would have hated for me to stand still.
I love you, Peter. And yeah, yeah, I know. I hear you say, ditto. Let me still feel you in the small and big things. Always look after our kids. Mostly, be with me as I go on living…without you these past fourteen months.