One Final Trip (part 1)

Dearest Rachel –

I have yet to find a place that can open your phone up and download the data from it – the last place I went to only seemed to work on actual smart phones (which you forever resisted getting – guess that might have been a good plan at this point) – so I don’t have all of your contacts that I would otherwise be able to inform of your passing and tie up loose ends. Granted, I think I’ve taken care of most of the important ones already, but it does seem like your phone is somehow aware that you’re gone: when I plug it in to charge it, it tells me the battery is at 100%, but I literally can’t access the menu – it just stays on the screen showing the battery percentage. I don’t think I bricked it, but it’s acting like a brick for all intents and purposes.

However, while going through papers in the sunroom and the dining room (I forget which), I’ve come across a few letters from the fellow we used to rent the cottage on the island. Just his standard ‘Merry Christmas, thanks for staying at the cottage, here’s what things will be like for next year, so book your reservation soon after the First’ letters from 2007, 2010 and 2019. And it’s the 2019 one that I needed to find.

You remember when we showed up at the cottage that year, and our hearts sank to see that Jim was selling the cottage. Well, he was getting up there in age, and managing multiple properties was getting to be a little much, so we could understand. And then, we realized we might be able to put in a bid, once things were sorted out with your mom’s estate.

But we waited a bit too long, and some things were just delayed and, well, we lost out on the opportunity.

Of course, given the current situation, that might very well have been for the best. The island was your place, and much as I saw it as an escape from the workaday world, I’d already left the workaday world at this point. It wasn’t as necessary for me anymore.

Although, there’s something to be said for clearing out everything, moving to a place like that, and just holing up there forever, with little more than an internet connection to tether me, however slightly, to the outside world. But I’ve got extended family and friends here; I couldn’t do that to them. Not to mention a number of responsibilities at church and yes, camp. And honestly, I think I need the human contact, even if I have moments that might insist otherwise.

And in any event it’s a moot point now.

But the letter included contact information for the family that purchased the cottage, and they rented the place out to us in 2020. Apparently, you talked with the husband a number of times in the course of making arrangements; when I got in touch with him this evening, he mentioned how “normally, I would be talking with your wife about this” before I had a chance to tell him what had happened to you.

Once I did, he was understandably sympathetic (after an understandable moment of shock). He checked his schedule, but the time I’d requested – late July or early August, based on the times the girls seemed to indicate they would be available – had already been spoken for. He had been assuming that we would have wanted late August or early September, like last year. Which I suppose we would have, had everything been as last year.

But of course, they aren’t.

I did mention what you had planned for this visit, and he was more than willing to let us pour you out from the dock. In fact, he actually claimed they ‘would be honored’ for us to use the cottage for your final send-off. I suppose you knew this, but I was surprised to discover that he’s in the funeral business, going back five generations, so it explains why he’s so understanding about this.

But for now, it looks like there’s this scheduling conflict. Which, you’ll forgive me, is fine with me. I don’t think I’m ready to let go of you just yet – even if the soonest possibility of doing so is some four months hence yet. Another year to wait would be okay for me, honestly. And considering how much you couldn’t let go of, wouldn’t that be appropriate in its own right?

Still, I’ll check with the girls to see if the end of August is possible; but if not, it’ll be 2022 before we finally say goodbye.

And I’m okay with that, 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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