Pictures of Better Days

Dearest Rachel –

Sometimes, I don’t know how my folks deal with it.

Now, I have photos of you throughout the house; it’s a result of finding them in the process of cleaning the place out (not to mention cleaning off places for them to sit). That should be understandable; in fact, what would be questionable is if I didn’t have them around.

Indeed, I’ve been asked about the pictures in the sunroom as to why my folks aren’t among this cluster in the sunroom. My best answer to that is that most of what I’ve been going through has been of your memorabilia (which primarily would include pictures of you and your folks), and I’ve been adding to the displays as I’ve dug them up. In truth, it’s probably been more of a case of not having gotten around to displaying any photos until the subject is no more. I don’t feel the urgent need to put up pictures of my folks when I can visit them in person on the regular like I do. It’s not the most reasonable of answers, but it’s the closest to being accurate.

In any event, these pictures are relatively small, or in places where I’m neither necessarily staring at nor crossing them regularly. The family photo that they keep in their bedroom, however, is kind of hard to miss.

I don’t remember which cruise this was taken on; all I can tell you definitively is that it was between 2010 and 2017, because of that silly soul patch that I had between those years (you didn’t seem to mind it, though). All I can say is that it represents better days. Days when we could still travel as a family, when Dad was still able to eat, when you were still around and a part of the family. And they wake up to that picture every morning. I don’t know how they manage it.

Maybe they’ve gotten used to it; maybe it’s just blended into the decor after a certain length of time. It hasn’t happened for me, yet. I kind of wish it would.

I’ve just made plans to go on another trip; hopefully I won’t catch anything while en route like last time. But it’s not going to be the same as when that picture – and several others from previous time – was taken.

Traveling on one’s own just isn’t the same as traveling with the family. Oh sure, you have the liberty to come and go as you please in a way that you don’t when you’re traveling with a group, but that level of freedom costs more than I ever planned on paying.

Look, I’m not asking the folks just set that picture face down whenever I’m over; I’m just making the observation that I can’t help but be reminded of you, and what used to be, every time I pass it – and that there’s no way to bring those days back at this point, no matter what I might try.

Thanks for hearing me out, honey. Keep your eye out for 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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