I Remember This Time

Dearest Rachel –

I’m not sure how it happened that last month I forgot about it – maybe it’s because I was dealing with unforeseen circumstances, maybe it’s because I didn’t have as much time to write as I do this month – but it certainly isn’t happening today. It has now been eighteen months – a full year and a half – since your passing.

So much is different today than then. Instead of the brutal cold, we’re dealing with a blistering sun out here. It stays up so much longer these days, too, and the River Landing is well-lit at night, compared to the midnight darkness of the road Daniel and I traveled on our way back home that awful night. But either way, the nights are still so much quieter and emptier than they used to be before it all happened.

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that, even when it happened, I was older than you by more than two years; I’d long since outlived you even from the day you died. And I still continue living, going places and seeing things you’ll never get a chance to, unless your spirit follows me around as I go and do and see and all. I wish I knew whether you could or do.

And the more years that go by, the more time I’m given that you weren’t. Even knowing that things are so much better where you are than down here, it seems like you were shorted on your earthly time, even as mine continues to stack up (to say nothing of those even older than myself – a not-insubstantial, if somewhat dwindling, number of people worldwide). It all seems so unfair.

As I was driving this week, I heard a song on my iPhone, where the lyrics asked how come everything keeps happening even though the world has ended – because the lover the singer was addressing had left. It hurts to admit it, but those breakup songs (and there are many of them out there. They’re only outnumbered in genre by love songs, since the love comes first before loss) hit real hard these days.

At least I know I didn’t have the kind of regrets that those singers (or rather, those songwriters) had, where they try to go over what happened, and what they could have done to avoid this situation, and whether they could do something to reverse it. But with that said, they might be able to hold onto that sliver of hope, however thin, of reconciling themselves to their lost love. Not so much with us. You’re gone, and that’s all there is to that.

***

I read somewhere that for each of us, there comes a day when we set down our children, after having carried them, and never pick them up again. We never know when that day will happen, and so we never give it much thought when we do it for the last time. If we did know, it would probably break our hearts to think about it. But literally everything we do, we will eventually do it for the last time, and as with setting Daniel down, we never realize it when it happens; it only becomes important in retrospect.

With that in mind, consider that you have had all of your last times at this point; your last kiss, your last swim, your last slice of pizza. To be sure, you’ve battled your last cold – and you never caught Covid – you’ll never suffer heartbreak or injury again, let alone all the little nuisances of life that we’re so prone to here on Earth. Meanwhile, Daniel and I still have a fair number of these last times to encounter, as far as I know. We may also have some (many, even, with luck) first times ahead of us – and you won’t be there to share them with us. And again, this seems so unfair – to each of us, from our own perspectives. But it is what it is, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. All we’re left to do is to move forward, trusting that we will, presumably many years hence, meet again.

I do hope I won’t be so old you won’t recognize me; maybe we’ll be the ages we imagine ourselves to be, which would be nice. Although, if I’m twenty-something, and you’re like, what, five? will that pose a problem?

Wish I could hear from you about that.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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