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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

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. 

August 2000

Erin,

     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

Toby

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."

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Comment by eliana on October 8, 2014 at 7:57pm

How beautiful.  Thank you for sharing it with us.

Comment by IndiaKai on October 7, 2014 at 5:40pm

That is a beautiful quote Wildflower. Thank you.  I do smile because it happened.  I'm so blessed that he enriched my life in the 16 years I had with him.  

Laurajay - The loneliness is my hardest demon right now. Today is 15 months and I'm just thinking how farther and farther I get away from "our" life.  The letter did bridge that gap though and I needed it badly.

MissRKK- I agree.  It was a treasure that i'm glad I re-found.  The last handwritten page hasnt't moved from infront of my computer screen.  I just need to read his words "You have my entire heart and soul and no one, and I mean no one else can ever take that away from you.... I love you Erin, always and forever" I just need his words right now as I figure out what my next move is in my life.

Comment by MissingRKK on October 6, 2014 at 12:49pm

So beautiful! What a treasure. 

Comment by laurajay on October 5, 2014 at 4:25pm

The written word has power. You were kind to share this.  I have our correspondence tied in a blue velvet ribbon for the  18 months my husband served in the army in Korea  just as Viet Nam was breaking out. I don't think we ever reread those letters during our 44 yr of marriage. I am so glad I kept them.  Goodness, the intensity of love when you are young is so total and consuming.   Life hurries by so quickly. I miss my husband more and more though it is now 2 1/2 yrs.  Not softer. Not better understood.  I move on because of a faith I have the we are here to serve God---even when we lose those we love the most.  B ut it has not gotten easier.  I wait in prayer for the loneliness to abate.  Blessings IndiaKai. I hope you heal as well.

Comment by wildflower on October 5, 2014 at 4:04pm

IndiaKai the letter is beautiful.  thanks for sharing.  I'm reading the book "Until I say Goodbye" and it listed a quote from Dr. Seuss which I like and want to keep in mind.."Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened."

Comment by IndiaKai on October 5, 2014 at 12:50pm

Thanks Carolynne.  He was always the romantic.  He wrote me many love letters, but this one was always my favorite and I hadn't read it in 10+ years.  It really did surface at the right time for me. I Needed that little extra push to keep going and stop dwelling on what I don't have physically anymore, and just cherish what no one will ever be able to take away.  His love & memories.  

Comment by rodsgurl09 on October 5, 2014 at 12:15pm

(((((Hugs))))) Crying my eyes out reading this. What a special guy. What a special love. 

Love you, sweetie. Holding you in my heart. <3

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