First off, I miss you. I will never grow tired of saying that because it seems to be the only truth I know anymore. Life isn't the same without you here, but that's what everybody says when they lose someone they love. I can't really put into words how to feels to be living while you're gone. I guess it'd be able to describe it as how you feel when you think you're forgetting something. That's what it's like. Sure, I have my keys, my phone, my wallet, what am I missing? It's you. I keep looking around trying to find you because it always feels like something is missing.
My life has changed in many ways after you died. For some reason, my life now revolves around dates on the calendar. It's been 5 months since your diagnosis. It's been two months since you died. Your birthday was two weeks ago. I feel like I'm clutching the calendar as a way to keep you closer. As if I'm terrified that if you're not on my mind 24/7 that I'll forget you. I know I won't though, I could never forget you.
It hurts to talk about you; that's another change I've gone through. I used to be so proud to talk about you and I still am, except now there's a lump in my throat whenever someone mentions your name to me. It's hard to look at your photograph because I want nothing more than to turn around and see your face as you stand next to me. It's all so hard. To say the words 'he's dead' out loud is nearly impossible for me now.
I cry now, a lot more than I used to. I'll be sitting with my notepad and pencil while drawing, because I know how much you loved my artwork, and I'll just start sobbing. Tears always end up staining the paper and it's a viciously repetitive cycle of starting over and crying again.
To say that I want you to come back is an understatement. I'm happy that you're not in pain and I'm so grateful that you're in a place like Heaven, but my world is Hell without you. Most people like to wish that they had just 5 more minutes to see their lost loved one. I wouldn't be able to survive that. God only knows that once that 5 minutes would be up, I'd never be able to let you go again. More than that, I just wish I had a chance to tell you all of the things I should've told you sooner. I should've hugged and kissed you more, I should've said 'I love you' more.
I should've done so much more.
If I'm telling you the truth, it's so hard to think about you. It kills me when you're on my mind because it feels like a constant reminder that I won't ever have you back. I spiral when I think about you, and that only leads me to so much more pain. Every time you pop into my mind, I push you away and tell myself that I will grieve later. I will cry about you later. I will wait and wait until I'm ready to burst; then I will let myself feel the pain of losing you.
Society makes death seem poetic of sorts. Your death was not poetic. Your death was heart-wrenching and soul-crushing and every bad emotion I could ever feel times ten. It was tragic and terrifying and all I could do was sit and watch it happen. I feel like you took a part of me with you when you died, and I just want everything back to the way it was before.
I want your memory to be filled with love but damn am I angry at you for leaving me too soon. There was so much we hadn't done yet, places we haven't seen. You were supposed to walk me down the aisle and meet my children someday. Now it's too late and I hate myself for it. I won't be angry forever, I promise; I'm just trying to grieve.
Friends and family try to comfort me but truthfully, I see no comfort in the future. There are no right words strung perfectly together to make me feel like my world hasn't caved in on itself. It hurts, it's always going to hurt. Losing you will never not hurt. I appreciate their effort of trying to make me feel better, but it doesn't take away the pain.
I keep crying out the words 'I wanna go home', but yet I'm sitting in my own bed. I am home, but the place I want to go is to a state of mind where everything is okay; so home is no longer home to me. I walk past your old bedroom every day and I can barely bring myself to look inside because it hurts so much. One day, when I can muster up the strength, I will sit in that room and talk to you as if you're in there with me. That day will come when I am strong enough to be able to pick myself back up after falling down, but that day isn't near.
Day after day come the nightmares of me trying to turn back time to save your life. I run until time goes in reverse and just before I'm able to tell you about the cancer, I wake up. I always wake up before I finish telling you and before I can save you.
One of the parts that hurt the most is realizing there are things that will never happen again. You and I will never go camping and fishing in the Adirondacks again. You and I will never spend a summer Saturday night getting ice cream again. When I step off of a plane, you won't be waiting at the gate with open arms ever again. That burns like salt on a wound. That's going to hurt forever.
I know you won't ever be able to read this letter but I have to write it anyways. I need the catharsis if I'm going to keep going on without you. I've been so busy piling up my emotions and stuffing them down and I just can't do that anymore. I've been running from the pain of losing you and my feet are getting tired so I need to stop and let it out.
I just want you to come home.
Adjusting to a 'new normal' has been difficult on all of us. Normal seems so out of reach without you here. My throat burns and my heart aches when I think about this supposed 'new normal' that I have to find. Nothing will ever be normal again, will it?
I think you'd be glad to know that I'm back in therapy. You were one of the only people who helped me see that therapy was a good thing. It's still difficult to talk about you in counseling, but I'll get there eventually. I need to talk about it, and I need to talk about what happened. In some ways, I think I hate talking about it because I still haven't faced it yet. In some deep part of my mind, I'm still convinced that you will walk through the door tomorrow and tell me that you're home. God, I just want you to come home.
Instead of talking about you, I write about you. That is infinitely better than speaking because I don't have to hear the words escape my mouth. I don't have to push those awful words, 'he's dead' from my chest and try to catch my breath after it. This way is easier for me; it's the only thing that seems easy anymore. Writing to you, in particular, is even easier. It comes naturally.
When someone I care about loses a loved one, I feel like I'm grieving with them. You don't understand grief until you live it, and I hate seeing others have to live through this too. I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy, let alone my closest friends. Every time I hear about someone going through this pain too, I can't help but shed tears for them.
I'm sorry that this letter to you is getting long. I just really wish I could sit down and read you these words face to face. I miss your voice, and I'm terrified because I'm starting to lose memory of it. It's only been a few months but I don't ever want to forget the sound of you. I recorded my last phone call with you, the one where I called to say my final goodbye to you. I recorded it because I needed something of you that I could keep forever. You didn't talk during that phone call, but I could hear you breathing. I still can't go back and listen to it yet, maybe I never will. It's there though, sitting deep in a folder on the desktop of my computer.
Although you will never read this letter, I know that you hear the words I'm saying. You're with me every day, so you must be reading these words from somewhere in the universe. That is why I am writing this to you: because I know that it will get to you somehow.
I just want you to know how much I love you. You were and always will be my best friend, even if you're no longer here. I'm going to do everything I possibly can do to make you proud. I'm fighting so hard, just for you. Only for you.
There are a million more things I would say to you if you were alive, but for now, this is the best I could do. I love you, I miss you, and that will never change.