More life changes are coming down the road for me and it is forcing me to finally face 16 years of life that is wrapped up in this old house. I haven't faced going through Toby's things since he died 15 months ago. I closed the door and ignored it. If I went through it... it would mean he is gone. It was final. Just too much for me to handle mentally last year. So, closed the door and ignored it was how I dealt with it.
Now, being faced with life changes I have been forced to go through our things. It is terribly hard on my mind, body, soul, and my already fragile heart. Many sleepless nights and long work days of trying to trudge through the process called "living" has been taking a toll on me. I'm exhausted. I'm very lonely. And on many days recently I have an intense fear urging me to just give up. Take the bottle. Drink, smoke, and just feel disgusting, worn out and ruin myself. I know, not a pretty picture, but trust me; grief can play many nasty tricks. (And nooo... I haven't done this.. I just feel like it from time to time).
But, in that deep grief brings the sweetest message. One that I needed to read right now. You see... Autumn is when Toby and I started really falling in love with each other. Halloween would have marked the start of our 18th year together. So, all the smells, pumpkins, costumes, crisp air, beautiful colors and changes that fall brings has taken a bit of a toll on my strength. My body and mind are washed over with longing for something I can no longer hold in my physical arms.
I'm going through boxes of our 16 years together. I found the following letter from Toby. He wrote it when he still lived in Phoenix and I had just returned home to Spokane. In 2000 I was a very immature 21 year old girl trying to figure out what I wanted in my life and he was a 23 year old boy trying to keep my wild heart. He'd never expressed how much he really loved me until this letter. I remember reading this at the bridge off the Palouse Highway. A spot we all went as kids and had bonfires. When he came back to Spokane in October of 2000 he gave me this letter at the bridge to read (even though he wrote it in August) and it changed where our life would lead for the remaining 14 years together.
I love you. Everything in me screams how much I love you. My heart and soul aches because of how much I love you, and how much I want to be with you. I love you because you make me happy. I love you because you opened me up to so many new things. I fell in love with you because you are my match. You are sensible and level headed and at the same time completely crazy!
Ever since the first time I saw you in high school I've been completely mesmerized by you. I couldn't stop thinking about you then. I always wanted to know who you were. Then I saw you at that party when you were 17 and was completely dumb-founded that all of a sudden you were standing in front of me. So I completely said the wrong things to you. Then I continued to see you here & there and mostly at Hastings. Every time I had absolutely no clue what to do or say to you. Things finally worked out, but every time I saw you I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something special about you that dealt with me. I now know what that special something is, and that is you and I together.
I love you for the support you give me, and the strength that I normally wouldn't be able to achieve. I'm pretty much lost and miserable without you. Cory said it once and it surprised us both, but he's right and I hate to admit he's right on anything. I need you. Not only do I need you, but more importantly I want and love you. I don't want anyone else but you. I enjoy your company. I enjoy waking up with you next to me. The sound of your voice. Everything about you Erin. You are everything that I've ever wanted in someone. You are the "dream girl" Erin and you are in my dreams. I'm afraid I fell in love with you long before I knew you. I love you because you love me equally as much. I love you because you make me feel important and you overlook my MANY imperfections. You make me feel secure with myself. I'm never insecure around you or when we are with other people now. You give me strength. I can look into your eyes and see how much love you have for me. I can hear it in your voice, feel it in your touch. I wish I could be in your arms right now. I love you so much Erin. I love you with every bit of my being.
I love you with everything that is me. You have my entire heart and soul and no one, and I mean no one else can ever take that away from you. I'm in love with you because of all of the reasons I've listed and many many more. You and I complement each other so well. Without you I feel that I am missing a huge part of myself.
I love you Erin.
Always & Forever
I needed to read this letter again. It made me feel like he was right next to me. Urging me to keep going. Telling me he knows how hard this is on me, but don't give up babe. You have to keep going. I could feel him brush his fingers down my wet face saying, "shhhhhhh breathe babe... just breathe. You're going to make it. I'm here. Just breathe babe."