Dearest Rachel –

I really wish it would stop hurting every morning. Even on days like today when Chompers doesn’t wake me up, the empty silence in the bedroom is… deafening.

I try to keep myself busy in order to drown out the silence, but these days, everything that has to be done has something to do with you. Bagging up your clothes for the folks to clean and sort for the mission, throwing out old dressing bottles and canned goods from the newly-accessible pantry…

…and cancelling you from all manner of joint or family accounts.

Unpersoning you.

It’s not like it’s not necessary. I mean, why pay Blue Cross for health care you’ll never use again, or Verizon for a phone that’s essentially locked? Best to reduce, and only send money to these corporations for what coverage Daniel and I actually will need and use, as opposed to keeping your stuff going for no reason other than sentiment.

But like with each shred of half-used aluminum foil in the kitchen, each act is one more tiny piece of your soul being torn away from me, and as it is, it rips a corresponding hole in mind. The problem with becoming ‘one flesh’ like the biblical ideal, is that the wounds when the flesh is torn apart by something like this are almost unbearable.

Still, considering the time you spent in the late hours of every night with him, I can only guess what Daniel is going through. Which is part of why I figure it’s basically up to me to work on this unpersoning process – I can’t imagine what a challenge this would be for him to deal with. In a way, he’ll probably have less emotional attachment to whatever I leave behind (when that day comes), because you were his closest and dearest friend, not me.

So… bright side, I guess…?

One of the things I was dealing with after Jan left on Tuesday was your credit card bill. Most of our cards were either in both our names or just mine, but this one was yours and yours alone. Of course, I wrote the checks to pay it, but still, yours.

I’d probably issued the last payment just before the accident, but for whatever reason, the payment was never received. Additionally, you’d done that usual thing you used to do every holiday, and pay $15 to spruce up your site in that Gardens of Time game you would play on Facebook. Daniel and I never understood the appeal, but we indulged you in your little obsession, since we each had online obsessions of our own. Apparently (and this should come as no surprise), you hadn’t had the opportunity to cancel the payment before the accident, so rather than just the one expense last month, a new charge was levied this month as well – to say nothing of the late fees and interest from the bank not having received the last payment. Which means this would go on being charged every month from now until the card expired.

So I figured I’d need to just go to the bank, pay the card off (and possibly request a waiver of the fees, since I had paid, and we never missed a payment – yes, you can petition credit card about this sort of thing, and you’d be surprised how often they allow it, especially as a long-time and good customer), and close it out. End of story.

Well, no. Turns out, they won’t just take my word for it that you’re dead; they need the certificate. Fair enough: bureaucracies gonna bureaucracy. So I came in the next day, with the paperwork, and after some examination (“oh, this is a Wisconsin certificate… never seen one of those before”), it was all taken care of.

I confess to some ambivalence to the professional courtesy that inevitably delivers that “I’m so sorry for your loss;” after the first few times of this from one administrator or another, it feels rote, like it’s just something they are supposed to say. Which it probably is, and I can’t fault them for it; I don’t come in to these places often enough for them to know me from Adam. But this return trip, where the bank manager actually had to look at the certificate, realize how recent and how sudden – given the cause of death – this was, I got the impression that he was, in fact, unusually sincere in what would otherwise be a perfunctory expression of sympathy.

As I thanked him for his service, and got up to leave, I couldn’t help myself. I gestured at the picture of him and his family, and several knickknacks he had displayed beside the photo of several European vacations, and told him, “You take good care of them, now, you understand?”

“I will,” he nodded solemnly.

I think he meant it.

You never miss the water until the well’s run dry.

Irish proverb

I probably shouldn’t go lecturing strangers about their family life, honey. But the thing is, life is way too short to dismiss any moment as unimportant. The trouble is, we don’t realize that until we run out of moments. Even the most ordinary things – especially the most ordinary things – are the ones that deal the most crushing blows.

Don’t get me wrong, honey. I think we did the best we could at enjoying each moment together. And who’s able to frame and treasure every moment you have without going completely mad trying to catalogue them all?

But (and I know I’ve said it so many times already, but it still bears repeating over and over again), I wish we could have had so many more of those moments together yet.

And every little thing reminds me of you.

Every little thing has an explanation, a story behind it. And I’m not sure I’ll get to tell them all before they fade from my mind.

Stay with me, honey.

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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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