The Longest Mo(u)rning

Hey, Honey –

Well, this is it.

The first thing I asked Daniel this morning was, “Well, are you ready for the longest morning of your life?”


“…yeah, me neither.”

Neither of us got much sleep last night, honey. Even without Chompers around – Kerstin offered to take care of him for the night, bless her – there was just too much going on inside my head. Daniel has been posting like mad on Facebook – a weird choice, if you ask me, as he has absolutely no love for the ZuckerBorg and his life invading product. But it’s how one most easily communicates with the world at large these days, so there he is.

As for me, I’ve been sticking to emails and phone calls – the old-fashioned way. Never thought of myself as such, but the personal touch gets you in contact with the specific people you realize ought to know, and in a timely manner.

It’s not been easy. Spent over an hour around three or four this morning writing to one group of friends in the anime community, getting them caught us on several years of activity since the last time we were all together an a convention, before lowering the boom on them, and letting them know… that you’re gone.

I’m not fishing for sympathy as such, honey, really I’m not. I’m not looking forward to writing and sending thank you letters for cards from people I barely remember anymore. I’m not looking forward to three hours of standing behind a stanchion, like some kind of zoological exhibit, as people come by offering condolences, and I have to judge by their eyes alone as to who they are, and accept their words, and commiserate with them – because they’re feeling the loss of you, too – about the loss they’re dealing with as well.

You were always so good at dealing with people, and I… wasn’t. Aren’t.

You’d be such a great help, supporting me through all this, and knowing what to say to each and every person that will come through that line this morning.

I so wish you were here.

But if you were, we wouldn’t be having to deal with this to begin with, now, would we?

I know I picked out the music (with Daniel’s help, of course – he knew all of your KLove favorites that you listened to in your car, which I never did in mine), but every song squeezes my heart as I listen to it. So much history, so many stories behind each and every one of those songs. I can tell just from listening to these now that just about everything Daniel and I will do together for the foreseeable future will remind us of you. Either we’ll remember how “the three of us always used to do this together,” or “she would so love to be a part of what we’re doing right now.”

Probably both, in most cases.

I wonder how long these feelings are going to last.

Oh, and please, don’t get me wrong. I never want to forget you – indeed, that’s why I’m writing to you, so that some day I can remember ‘oh, yeah, that happened way back when.’ Especially since, as people tell me stories about you, where I was there too, and I’m all like, ‘wait, did I really react that way? I mean, it sounds like something I’d do, but I just don’t remember that happening.’ So I’ve got to put all this stuff on paper, or virtually, so I don’t forget. The time we spent together were the best years of my life, physically, emotionally, spiritually… I can’t afford to let them get lost in the labyrinthine back alleys of my mind, where the ravages of time and faulty memory might assault them and beat them into unrecognizability.

But if everything we do, everything we see, everything we listen to, from now in perpetuity reminds us of you, this pain will never go away, like constantly picking at a full-body wound. I just want this pain to be dialed down to a dull ache, rather than this stinging pain that courses through my mind with every one of “our” songs.

And yet, I’d really rather be sitting here, listening to this music, weeping at the lyrics, than standing here, nodding and murmuring thanks to the masked masses as they pass by and offer what little solace they can.

And I shouldn’t diminish anyone’s efforts, really. Everyone’s trying their best, I know. You’re in heaven with Jesus; I have your testimony that I found in your Bible that you put together to try to convince your parents to come (or at least come back) to him as they began to fail. With His strength behind me, I intend to read it today, because I know you would want EVERYone in the audience to someday be where you are now. I know I will see you again.

But you’re not here now. And that’s what hurts so much.

My sister Jen has done yeoman work putting together pictures, and assembling the display of all the things that meant so much to you. All those T-shirts: I never thought about you may have worn your heart on your sleeve, but you had your opinions and fandoms on your chest, didn’t you? People could tell from a glance the kind of person you were. You were a book that could be judged by its cover – and you covered yourself beautifully. Not that you would let people know you by observation alone – you would approach just about everyone you could, and draw them into your orbit.

To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, sometimes, your love, your kindness, your joy… it generated gravity.

And today, I find myself struggling under the weight of your influence on others.

In my darkest days at work, when I had been convinced that I was making no contribution to the world, that I was a worthless piece of rubbish, you were always there to console and strengthen me. And I would also watch as you provided that same kind of strength and comfort to so many other needy people you came in contact with.

I know you heard me say it (and I am so grateful that you did, although you would always assume me otherwise), but I have to tell the world: there were so many times when I believed the only good thing I ever did in my life was to bring you to these suburbs from the little rural town you called home, where you could do so much more good for so many more people. Where you could blossom and grow, and spread the seeds of your joy to a vast acreage full of so many lives. And even if that were true, this sole bit of good I would have done would be enough to take satisfaction in.

But I wish there had been more of you, honey.

I miss you.

And I love you so much.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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