A Million Words With You

Dearest Rachel –

When I first started writing to you after your departure, I wondered how long it would take to get to this point.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Originally, it hadn’t crossed my mind to try to actually send you a letter every day – I was thinking of trying to tell your stories rather than my own, only to find that I knew mine better than yours (and the journey to recovery has been filled with so many weird plot twists, to say nothing of the fact that I’m doing so many of the things we’d originally intended to do together) – so back then, I wasn’t thinking in terms of writing so many things in so many words to you. But like with you and your ongoing games of Candy Crush or Gardens of Time, I found myself warming to the challenge: how many days in a row can I keep this up, sending you a letter about something – anything – going on in the world you left behind? And it’s been surprising to see just how much remains to be said about what’s gone on since then.

Of course, there has been a fair amount of repetition throughout these 560+ days since you’ve been gone. I’ve noticed that I use an awful lot of introductory phrases, and my sentences go on and on, interrupted by parenthetical remarks – or the occasional hyphenated aside. It’s mostly because I’m trying to sound like I’m actually talking to you, rather than writing a proper essay, because it just doesn’t fit the circumstance. But still, it’s hard to believe that I’ve written you nearly a million words at this point since then.

It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the concept of a million sometimes. For all that it sounds like a lot of money, for instance, that would probably be what passes through our hands in the course of a mere ten years (and, as the dollar loses value over time, that period keeps getting shorter all the while). In terms of days, by contrast, it’s astonishing to realize that a million days haven’t passed since the days when Isaiah was predicting about how “unto us, a Son is given,” let alone those days when that Son walked the earth. And as for a million miles, while that could be done in one’s lifetime, it’s got to be somewhat deliberate. You would go to visit your parents every month in their waning years, but to cover a million miles, you’d need to make that round trip two thousand times; at once a month, that would take 167 years. I mean, it’s a long way to go – some forty times around the earth (not that that’s possible to do in a car), or somewhere between three hundred and three hundred fifty times back and forth between the East and West Coasts, depending on the starting point and destination.

So yeah, it’s a lot. And considering I’ve never thought of myself as being particularly verbose (even when I was writing as a hobby, when it got me into certain circles within the budding anime fandom community, my stories were only a few pages long at most, and I don’t think I came close to a hundred of them throughout that time before giving up), the fact that I’ve sent you all this text in such a relatively short time seems incredible. I wonder if you would be proud of me, or if you would insist that I was just wasting my time doing this.

Well, maybe I am. I know full well that you aren’t going to read these, after all. Even if, in heaven, you are somehow allowed to be aware of what’s going on here on earth, why would it concern you? I would guess that there’s so much for you to deal with (and so many people to meet and get to know – you’re probably still busily hugging, shaking hands and chatting with friends, family and famous people you’ve always wanted to do so with, again or for the first time), that the affairs of some clump of mud in the infinite void of this dimensional space barely registers with you anymore. Maybe when I show up, you’ll take notice (you’ll probably comment about how old I’ve gotten, unless I’m permitted to be the twenty-something I still can help visualizing myself as, even at this point in my life), but until then? I have to admit that it’s just not likely.

And yet, for whatever reason, I’m going to continue, at least for now. Whether it’s little more than a coping mechanism for me to deal with your loss and continued absence, or if it’s a means to chronicle my life after you before I forget it (because I regret having lost so much of you already; I can talk to the folks about my forgotten childhood, and Ellen can confirm and add details of your life, but what passed between us alone is all but lost already, or skewed by the passing of time and my placing a romantic filter upon it), or just as a challenge to see how long I can keep this up on a daily basis, you’re going to keep hearing from me. I don’t know what you’d think of it, but it’s something to leave behind between you and me.

And if you are aware of any of it, honey, keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck; I’ll need it.

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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