from Rachel: **Gratitude

Note that the card originally read ‘INGRATITUDE’: We were instructed to black out the letters ‘I’ and ‘N’, and write on the back something that we were grateful for.
It may be that we were specifically instructed to write about something we might otherwise NOT be grateful for; in any event, you had two examples at the ready.

“I know I had many wonderful years with my ‘Daddy,’ but it’s never quite enough. May I be grateful for all the time I had.

“I loved my car, also but I can be grateful for the chance for upgrades.”

I suppose I should be saving some of these sermon notes that clearly hail from the Thanksgiving timeframe for some time in November. However, the Thanksgiving service was (and still is) something that happened every year, and there should be plenty of sermon notes I can be used for those entries when they come around. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that, in these photos, this little card is resting on a small notebook that you kept for a period of time that detailed all the things you were thankful for on a day by day basis for just under a year. To go over that will probably be quite a large info dump in and of itself.

Meanwhile, as nice as it is to come across handwritten notes from you, finding some with a more personal touch than a simple transcription of a sermon have proven to be few and far between. Well maybe not ‘few,’ per se, but considerably fewer than those that are simple transcriptions.

(And I do confess, I sometimes find myself pressed for time to locate a note from you in time to get it recorded on Saturday evening as I prepare to take Chompers out for his late night constitutional. Yes, although it may have been your forte, I have my moments when I procrastinate, too.)

Sometimes, when I’m going through all the notes you’ve left behind, it’s a challenge to determine when a given note is from. In going through all of the papers that were scattered throughout the house, Jan and I collected them in, shall we say, less than chronological order. I mean, I can pretty well guess that this was in November, but of what year?

To be sure, you’re referencing specific events that make it easier to pin down – and also remind me of just how eventful these last four years we had together have been, and not always in a pleasant way. After all, you lost both your parents in relatively short order before crossing over yourself shortly thereafter, in turn. And here, in late 2018, you were still coming to terms with your dad’s departure, over a year and a half before (I can tell this was 2018 since you had lost your beloved cranberry PT Cruiser to an inattentive driver pulling out onto Kirchhoff late in 2017. Thankfully, we managed to find a replacement early the next year; I can’t determine offhand when we finally got around to having it repainted from silver to the purple hue it now sports that you made famous).

And I have to confess that what you say about your dad, and how you could never have enough time with him strikes such a chord with me. No matter when we were to have been parted, it would never have been enough time we had together – although even more so in our case, given how abruptly you left, and how relatively early. We should have had decades together yet.

And I could be so ungrateful and bitter about losing you.

Or, I could treasure the time we had, be thankful for it, and do my best to remember everything about you while I can. I hope that these letters can be a part of this.

Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for responding to me those many years ago. Thank you for saying “yes, I do.”

Thank you, too, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Rachel. I didn’t expect or deserve her. And while I wish she had been with me for so much longer, you let me have her for the fullness of her life here on earth, and I want to be truly grateful for that, at least.

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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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