Forever Young

Dearest Rachel –

We were supposed to grow old together, like your parents, or mine. Fifty, sixty years together. We barely made half that.

You were supposed to become the wise advisor to the young women of our church family. You were the one who knew how to keep a house together, how to raise an… unusual… child, how to please a husband, and how to serve God the whole time and still have fun doing all of it.

But that will now, at best, have to come second hand, through the eyes of those that tell about you. Because you belong to God, and He has decided, in His infinite wisdom, to bring you to Himself rather than leaving you here. Evidently, you’d completed your tasks.

And so soon!

Okay, sure, once upon a time, we would have considered fifty to be old. After all, the generation before us once had a slogan, “Never trust anyone over thirty.” Thirty! And they’re all, like, what? Seventy, now? No wonder the generation(s) after us made ‘Okay, Boomer’ a thing not too long ago. By their own rules, they can’t be trusted, and haven’t been trustworthy for the past four decades.

Of course, there’s us Generation Xers, stuck in the middle of all this, in the shadow of those before and after us, going ‘whatever.’ We never were in control of what was going on here, and as a generation, just shrugged our shoulders and got on with our lives.

Hm… I seem to have gotten sidetracked.

The thing is, you never had the chance to grow old. Which maybe has its benefits. You never had to fear the loss of your mind that plagued both your grandmothers and your mom. You barely even had to come to terms with gray hair, especially with your decision to dye it purple over the last few years. Indeed, you had just gotten your hair dyed two days before the accident.

Which now seems such a waste.

So no one who ever thinks of you will imagine you as an old woman. You will remain forever young in everyone’s memory. Which, I imagine, would be just the way you would want to be remembered.

“Forever Young” by Alphaville. Set to Omoide Poroporo (Only Yesterday) by Studio Ghibli. Edited by C-ko Kotobuki

You never really wanted to get older. When I first met you, I described you as ‘five with thirteen years experience,’ and while that childlike spirit allowed to love as as adult, you were still in no way desirous to truly grow up. Sure, events forced us both to grow up over time – having a child, buying a house, bearing me up in the dark times at work, dealing with the decline and passing of both your parents – but throughout all of it, you kept the faith, heart and spirit of a child that so endeared you to me and everyone who met you.

And now, you will always be thought of as that cheery, energetic, childlike womanchild you always wanted to be thought of. If anything could be said about you, “she would have wanted it that way,” this was it; that you would be indeed forever young.

But couldn’t you have held onto that spirit for so much longer here on earth?

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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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