Dearest Rachel –

I woke up rather a bit too early this morning; while I wanted to get an earlier start on the day because of various errands I need to take care of, five a.m. is a bit too much. But upon attaining consciousness, my mind started rifling through various topics to write you about, and as it did – whether I really wanted it to or not – the chances of returning to sleep decreased rapidly. So I lay there in bed for a while as it tried to come up with something to tell you about.

To be honest, it isn’t as if there’s any particular lack of material – there are a number of things going on in my life at any given time – although sometimes, it can be a challenge to make a topic sufficiently interesting to go into detail about. Last night’s dream, for instance, all but evaporated by the time I was awake, with only the barest remembrance that Diana and I had all the supplies we needed for Sparks – which my conscious mind knows to not be the truth, so that brief snippet is not worth dwelling on. And while yesterday’s errands were fairly productive, they felt like they belonged more to Daniel in terms of whose story it really was. I will say that his enthusiasm toward his new phone is quite gratifying, especially since he rarely seems to take that much joy in any changes in his life (and in all honesty, he hadn’t been looking forward to much of the afternoon’s stops prior to that). But those seem like topics that aren’t mine to cover – although who knows? Maybe I’ll have more to say about it next week, when the glasses come in.

And then, there are the topics that are rather closer to my heart – almost too close. Thoughts about relational dynamics, opinions about others, and hopes and dreams about what a possible future might hold. These are the sort of things that we would talk about in great depth (although obviously, any discussion of my seeing another woman would never have entered either of our minds), but I can’t safely publish such thoughts to a wider audience at large. Not everything we would discuss between the two of us could be disseminated for wider consumption. These are the ideas my mind was picking up and discarding at five o’clock in the morning; you can understand why sleep eluded me at this point.

However, that last minor topic brought me to thinking about one that I’ve been debating about writing for a little while now, though. I’ve been asked if I ever look back on the letters that I’ve written to you with any measure of regret. Some of the YouTubers we would watch together would review their old material, in what often was referred to as a ‘try not to cringe’ compilation. So, do I find myself cringing over the things I’ve written to you throughout the past year and three-quarters?

In a word, no. Not really.

Oh, every so often, I make a link to a previous letter, and as I’m looking at it, I realize that I didn’t review the transcription as thoroughly as I ought to have. There’s a homonym of what I wanted to say here, incorrect punctuation there, and it surprises me that formatting issues (like two spaces after the end of a sentence, not just one) get under my skin as much as they do. My older stuff really should have been better edited – especially given the fact that you prided yourself on being a grammar maven. While I know you would excuse the occasional lapse, because it came from me, I understand how it would grate just enough to make certain letters – or at least passages – difficult to go through.

But for the most part, I don’t really feel like I have the time to go back and edit what I wrote previously. I’m constantly trying to move forward each day, so much so that I can’t take the time to correct those little niggling things embedded in what I said the day, the week or the month before. There was a point where I tried to add tags and categories to my earliest letters (which didn’t have any to speak of), but even that got to be too much in comparison to the need to tell you about the new things and thoughts that were going on.

And that’s another reason why I can’t find it in me to cringe about what I’ve told you; everything here is what I was experiencing, when I was experiencing it. Were I a novice writer, I could review these as I developed a specific style, and be embarrassed by choppier earlier works. Were this something involving research, I could see where I got my facts wrong, and express regret about that (and perhaps certain tales of current events may one day be like that). But these letters contain the events surrounding me at a given moment, and how I felt about them at the time; they were valid then, and cannot be dismissed. I may regret how frustrated I got with Chompers, for example, but if I waited until now to go into detail about my attempts to deal with him, the story would be sanitized beyond all recognition of reality. My naïveté toward those girls I met online certainly merits a large dose of chagrin, but the experience could serve as a cautionary tale (and maybe some amusement) for those who read about it in future. There’s no editing once own experiences or emotions.

In all honesty, my greatest regrets are the things I couldn’t – or can’t – write to you about. For all that I name names that you would be familiar with, I can’t talk about other people in depth, lest they discover how I feel about them – and how I certainly misunderstand their own motivations, among other things. I allude to our Saturday mornings, and while there may be readers with a more prurient bent (and I suppose, Rule 34 might be applied even to the likes of our correspondence), going into actual detail would be uncalled for, much as I would like to remember those details more vividly. There’s at least one letter I actually had to throw out, as I expressed frustration with – and envy of – couples who I felt were foolish enough to throw away a relationship, not recognizing the good thing they had; of course, I didn’t have all the details (and still don’t), and didn’t realize things weren’t all that good between them – although that begs the question as to how they missed the warning signs. Then again, we took our time getting to where we ended up, and our relationship was that much stronger for it – not everyone is so practical, I suppose.

So, have I written you cringeworthy material since your passing? Maybe. Do I regret any of it? Not hardly. There’s nothing invalid about the things I’ve told you; how I felt is how I felt. If I change from that point, that’s not to discount how I was at the time. And in any event, I’m trying not to dwell on that, but rather, to continue moving forward – not to erase you, by any means, but to commemorate you, and keep you posted.

In any event, keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

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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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