No One Left to Thank

Dearest Rachel –

I was going to start out by claiming it has been an ordinary day today, but that isn’t true. It was unusual, but not the sort of unusual that makes a particularly compelling letter. Suffice to say, my time was split between the ‘office’ and church, where I had a meeting about the camp and its finances. Nothing desperate – we’re doing well enough – but it’s not the sort of thing that’s particularly interesting to anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game.

Oh, and I retrieved my workbook from Grief Share, that I once again left behind in one of the Awana rooms after club last night. You’d think I’d learn after the first time.

Anyway, when the meeting was over at three o’clock, I headed home and decided to pick up some groceries on the way. You know, like an ordinary day. Nothing particularly interesting about that, either.

Even finding a whole bunch of Amazon deliveries on the front stoop isn’t exactly stop-press information; it may not be Thanksgiving yet, but with the things I’ve heard about the supply chain issues, it’s best to get started on Christmas shopping early. So I’ve found a few things for a few people in my list, and I went and got them.

All pretty standard stuff for a day in the waning part of the year, really.

But something came in the mail today that gave me pause. We’ve seen its kind before; it was a thank you letter from a student at Western Illinois.

The last one of these I’d seen was actually addressed to your mom, but the gist was the same. Apparently, your family still has a scholarship that continues to pay out to various art students, in this case to study ‘abroad’ in New York City (guess anything’s more exotic than Macomb). And this Alyssa Sutheard has taken the time and effort to express her thanks for that opportunity you all provided.

If only there was anyone left for her to thank.

I remember – back when I was in college, trying to juggle classes, work/study, what social life I could manage, and the like – how much of a chore it was to write thank you letters for scholarships, and wondered if anyone on the donor’s side ever read them. Now I guess I know. Hey, Alyssa, I appreciate your taking the effort to write a thank you note, but you really didn’t have to. There’s no one left to thank.

It’s actually strange that she addressed it to you, honey. I guess she was probably told that Bill and Jo weren’t around anymore, and you were the next of kin. But of course, they wouldn’t necessarily know about your accident (although I did make a point of having the obituary in the local newspaper down there), and wouldn’t have expected you to be gone as well.

So it turns out to be a wasted effort on Ms. Sutheard’s part; wouldn’t she find it exasperating to learn that she didn’t have to put something like that together. And worse yet, I have no way to contact her and let her know not to bother, assuming that she might be the beneficiary of further scholarships like this.

Oh, well. I guess that’s how it goes. It still makes me wish you were here to deal with this, even though you would have paid no more attention to it than I did (and probably considerably less, since you wouldn’t be writing a letter to yourself about it, now, would you?)

And that’s how the day went today. Wish I could hear from you about your day. Until I can, though, take care of yourself, and keep an eye out for Daniel and me.

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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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