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Dear Toby,

One year.

I have written you almost every day this past year. I written all of my experiences, my journeys, about the new people who have entered my life, my anger, my dark days, my good days, losing Shadow and Daytona, watching our family fall apart, about my loneliness that leaves me hollow, and how I’ve finally accepted being alone. But this one letter to you, I have decided to share and you know how big of a step that is for me.  I’m allowing one wall to crumble.

One year.

I have counted every day, week, month, and yes, I have even counted the seconds that we have been apart. I now will move into adding years. Years…… how can this be? How did I get here? It’s been a year…

This is the longest I have ever been away from you and it only gets longer from here. There are days I didn’t think I would make it.  I didn’t believe I was truly strong enough to face this life if you were not here being my champion.  Sometimes I still wonder if I am truly

 the “strong woman” that everyone said I was after you died. I have come to learn those are just words said to comfort other people in dark times.  They are innocent words.  They are meant to comfort and encourage. They are meant with no harm.  However, even though I recognize I am capable of strength.  I don’t think I will say these words to another woman who just lost her soul. I know better now. I see life so purely that I would never put that weight on her shoulders in the beginning. It is a heavy load to carry, and in time, you collapse under the stress of being “strong”.

One year.

My heart still has this ache. It hasn't really healed over the past year. I’m sure this pain will stay with me my entire life. That pain I felt the day you died.  That disconnection, that ripping, that instant knowledge I knew when you had finally given up. That’s the pain that continues to hit my heart from time to time.  In the privacy of our home, I lay crumpled on the floor, clenching my chest because it hurts so badly. I can’t breathe.  I wonder if I will really make it in this world. Will I be able to pull myself back to the living? I know I must.  I can’t stay in this tormented alternate reality that I have created.

I realized very early on that when these attacks would hit that I needed to leave. Flee. Run. Sprint out of town.  At first I would search for you in these new places. My soul would make my eyes search the crowds for you.

We used to be able to find each other instantly in a crowded area.  We always locked eyes when one of us entered.  You loved magic tricks, and this one was your favorite.  Your eyes would light up and you’d smile at me with pure admiration. Those eyes always were saying, “That’s my wife”.  My gods, what an intense connection we shared. It was so rare and very passionate. I’m curious if many people ever experience that type of connection.  I wonder if I will ever love someone as intensely as I loved you. Am I even capable of that?  Am I even capable of allowing someone to love me? I feel so damaged, lost, and on many days very weak. Who could have the patience to really understand and be comfortable sharing my life, when there will always be a part of me that drifts back to you. 

Do you remember when I would get flustered with you over some minor irritation?  You’d always get that look of pure satisfaction that I was flustered. You’d watch as I desperately would try and win the squabble.  Once I got mad enough, you'd chuckle deeply and I knew you were coming for me and I would run through the house to get away. It was clearly our game. You'd scoop me up and pin my arms down and you’d say, “God damn woman! If I am not around one day, god help the poor fucker that has to handle you!”  OH… I can still feel my face get red, but you would add, “but you are worth it my dear”. I'd get so mad at you for saying those words. I'd actually be more pissed you’d say “handle me” like I was property.  Then I’d get mad at you for saying you wouldn't be around. 

I always thought you and I had old souls.  I wonder now, if you knew deep down you would leave me early, but reassure me with, “awe….babe, I'm a Finn, we live forever”. Oh my dear, you didn't live forever, but you will be forever young.  (sigh) I do have to agree with you now. God help the poor fucker!  He will inherit a mess of a woman. Hopefully, I will be worth it.  Someday.  

One year.

I do not have good dreams of you. I still have nightmares of your death.  I may not ever dream, but I get you on a whole different level.  I don’t really need the dreams (although you could send me couple good ones. It wouldn’t hurt!). I do understand that energy is spent on others. We always connected differently anyways. Why would it be different in death? “Go big or go home babe” is what you would say to me.  I know…. With me you always go big. I will always recognize what you send me. Always.

I miss you. Oh I miss you so terribly

I miss our long talks

I miss our gossip sessions in bed, face to face, as you played with my hair

I miss your deep laugh

I miss your smell

I miss your touch

I miss how you’d line up our eyes and go “bzzzz bzzzzz” to get me to smile. 

I miss your words of reason

I miss your calming presence.

I miss watching your face as I would go off on crazy tangents and you’d say, “Okay Pat!”

I miss arguing with you over simple ordinary things

I miss your humor

I miss your teasing

I miss seeing you when I get home.  You always stopped everything you were doing to scoop me up in a hug.  Your kiss was always so pure. 

I miss sleeping in our bed

I miss how you would crawl into bed after me and pull me into your body. Even after 16 years, you would pull me to you.  I would always snuggle in. You’d say, “You fit me” and put your arm over my chest.

What I miss most of all is "us".  I miss us.  I miss what you and I were together.

One year.

This past year, my thoughts have been nothing but, “this day last year we were doing this, we were here, we watched this, we were planning to go here”.  I suppose this will fade now.  It will transition into “I remember when…”

I still can’t fathom possibly living the next 50+ years without you.  This is not what we planned.  This is not what we wanted and I have been fighting now for 365 days to not pull away from our life. A life that I loved very much.  I have to keep going on, without you. 

Without you……... such a very dark thought.

Toby, you made me a better person.  You helped me grow into a woman.  I will always love you. I will always think of you. I will always wonder who you and I would have grown into as an old couple. I will always long to see that beautiful hair of yours turn silver and pulled back in a ponytail. I believe you would have looked so distinguished, handsome, and I know I would have been giving all those women my evil back off look. 

Thank you for all of your gifts of love over the years.  I thank you for giving me the gift of sharing your life with me.  I thank you that I will know what it feels like to be deeply and purely loved by someone. That love will be what I will take with me wherever my life may lead. That love will always be my anchor.  I thank you for marrying me (not that you had much choice. I picked you out at 14 and stalked you from there on). But, I thank you, not just marrying me, but being my equal partner. We had a good healthy marriage.  We were good at it and I am so very proud of us.   

I love you Tobias.

I always did.  I always have. I always will.

~The Very Thought Of You~   


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Comment by IndiaKai on July 19, 2014 at 8:14pm

Thank you all for you kind comments.  I really do appreciate the feedback.  

Comment by smp1122 on July 11, 2014 at 10:32am

What an incredible letter....and love.  Thank you for thinking and feeling like me....and making me feel less insane and lonely.  I wish you love and happiness, again.

Comment by Blue Snow on July 11, 2014 at 5:42am

I took one look at your photo here and burst out crying and here I thought I was past that point where other widow's raw pain brings back my own.  Like JK said below, getting through the first year with all its pitfall anniversaries and holidays is a huge accomplishment.  It does get easier as time goes by, so hang in there!

Comment by missmyhunny on July 8, 2014 at 9:50pm

IndiaKai, Beautifully and eloquently written. Just goes to show how their absence physically in our life has changed everything so very much. Peace to your heart.

Comment by JK (OK) on July 8, 2014 at 10:51am
I'm glad you've made the year. It really is a huge accomplishment. I know I never thought I could live 2 weeks without Debbie. Somehow, here we are. 1 1/2 yrs for me. I feel that it is possible now. One day at a time.
PS, when you figure out the building a new life thing, please let me know.
Comment by IndiaKai on July 8, 2014 at 10:40am

I made it through the first year.  (deep breath) Next... building a new life. Somehow

Comment by TracyB on July 7, 2014 at 2:49pm

You had me in tears. What a beautiful and genuine letter. Thank you for sharing.

Comment by laurajay on July 7, 2014 at 12:30pm

Erin.  Candid honest post. thank you. lj 

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