Good Charlotte

Dearest Rachel – It would seem that our resident spider is back again, or perhaps her progeny. I don’t always – or even often – see her there, but she’s something of a fixture in the master bathroom. We have occasionally seen spiders there throughout the time we’ve owned this house. Why the master bathroom,Continue reading “Good Charlotte”

Muscle Massage Memories

Dearest Rachel – The late Betty White (don’t know if you’ve seen her up there, or if you could find her. While I’d admit that Rose had that ‘faith of a child,’ similar to how your mom was during her last few years, I’d wager that Sue Ellen wouldn’t be remotely interested in religion; andContinue reading “Muscle Massage Memories”

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 beContinue reading “Pictures of Better Days”

Spaces In Our Togetherness

Dearest Rachel – These days, Ruby will occasionally ask me whether I’ve spoken to another woman, especially if I don’t contact – or respond to – her on Google Chat quickly enough. Maybe she’s worried that she’ll lose me to someone else too early in the game, in which case I suppose I should beContinue reading “Spaces In Our Togetherness”

“Drives Through Storms”

Dearest Rachel – I think it must’ve happened while we were still courting; probably after we were engaged, but definitely while you were still living with your parents. I had planned to drive down to see you, despite reports of severe weather between the Chicago area and Macomb. I don’t think it was serious whereContinue reading ““Drives Through Storms””

Three Hundred Days

Dearest Rachel – Upon sending you my last letter, about the man yelling at the intercom outside the police headquarters, I received a ping from the WordPress application. In some ways it wasn’t much different from those that I get every day, complete with the standard ‘keep up the good work’ encouragement. But today wasContinue reading “Three Hundred Days”

Traditions No More

Dearest Rachel – I honestly thought I could do it. I thought I could just get through the details and activities of the Thanksgiving holiday without being ambushed by your loss. I kept myself so busy, between the work in the booth for the Thanksgiving Eve service the night before, and the preparations for theContinue reading “Traditions No More”

from Rachel: I Am Thankful…

“I am thankful… “7/21/97 “that I am a child of the King “that He has forgiven all my transgressions (Psalm 32:1) “that I’m finally keeping one of these (silly) journals Oprah keeps promoting “that I am laid back enough to not get stressed out if I miss a day sometimes (/often) “for a break inContinue reading “from Rachel: I Am Thankful…”

The Fear of False Positives

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned to you in a few other earlier letters about how I’m trying not to get too excited about my upcoming trip. For one, although it takes me to a lot of places I’ve never been to, I’m doing this completely on my own, and I can’t say I’m really lookingContinue reading “The Fear of False Positives”

At the Scene

Dearest Rachel – From the very first moment this trip was planned, where the team would run from church to camp, I had no idea whether I would be able to stand here. Once I was here, however, it seemed inappropriate for me not to come here. There’s no indication from the way things lookContinue reading “At the Scene”

Seeking Donations

Dearest Rachel – Even with Caller ID, I can’t help it. I was raised to answer the phone when it rang, regardless of who it was. That robotic voice can say ‘potential spam’ all she likes, I’m still going to pick up the phone, and find out what it is they want. To be sure,Continue reading “Seeking Donations”

Overlooked Traumas

Dearest Rachel – So last night at Grief Share, the subject under discussion was that of trauma. And while it could be argued that any loss can be considered traumatic from a certain point of view, tonight’s session dealt somewhat specifically with the likes of the more sudden variety – murders, suicides, multiple deaths (suchContinue reading “Overlooked Traumas”

Costumes

Dearest Rachel – There are so many things to say on this Halloween; so many memories to call up. It was a Halloween I am which I first sat with you in the cafeteria at breakfast, decked out as a denim clad mime, but unable to keep silent. Since I’d made up my face toContinue reading “Costumes”

Open Door Policy

…As I told you, the door to my office is always open. I think you know why it’s always open – that was stolen, I’d like that returned. Bob Newhart, Captain’s remarks from “The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish,” The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960) Dearest Rachel – I used to think that oursContinue reading “Open Door Policy”

Empty Reminders

Dearest Rachel – It doesn’t really follow to mourn a place you never patronized, but we always agreed it was said to see a business leave the area, regardless. Every empty restaurant, even one that we never got around to visiting, is still a blight on the landscape for sitting vacant. And let’s not getContinue reading “Empty Reminders”

Love & Marriage

Dearest Rachel – Happy Sweetest Day, honey. It’s weird; we never observed this holiday together. We considered ourselves fortunate enough to remember Valentine’s Day and our anniversary for each other. So why am I bothering now, seeing as I don’t have any sweetest to make a day out of this? Well, since the anniversary ofContinue reading “Love & Marriage”

Twilight Memories

Dearest Rachel – The nights are getting longer; well, they’ve been getting longer since Daniel’s birthday nearly four months ago. But now that we’ve passed the vernal equinox, and the hours of darkness exceed those of light, it becomes that much more obvious… and painful. October, even out here on the internet, is a monthContinue reading “Twilight Memories”

You Can Put Away Your Sunscreen

Dearest Rachel – Well, another season has come and gone. Summer is officially over. Amazing to realize that the passage of time is not an arbitrary concept, but there are physical conditions that we can observe here on earth; day and night, and the length of each defining the season of the year, even ifContinue reading “You Can Put Away Your Sunscreen”

Never Knew I’d Need Notes

Dearest Rachel – At some point in last night’s Grief Share meeting, the video session was going over certain emotions and attitudes we might have within the first few days and weeks. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was told earlier that my grief was ‘too raw’ and it was ‘too soon’ to go throughContinue reading “Never Knew I’d Need Notes”

Surprises

Dearest Rachel – I’ll tell you, this year thus far has been absolutely full of surprises. Which means that it’s probably a good thing you’re not around to deal with them, as you hated surprises. This was particularly evident when it came to birthdays and holidays – anything having to do with gift-giving. The longContinue reading “Surprises”

The Most Important Hour of My Life – On An Insignificant Day

Dearest Rachel – I feel like I should apologize for the poor quality of this video. But the tape is, after all, twenty-nine years old, and it hasn’t been played in maybe ten, fifteen years; it can’t be expected to hold up all that well for all that time, especially on such an outdated andContinue reading “The Most Important Hour of My Life – On An Insignificant Day”

A Day to Remember

Dearest Rachel – Twenty-nine years ago today, we were simply hanging out at the hotel, waiting for family and friends to arrive and greeting them as they did. Only one story stands out with me at this point – most of the others, I’m afraid, have faded into obscurity. It was some of your mom’sContinue reading “A Day to Remember”

Grateful

Dearest Rachel – You’ll remember that, on thanksgivings at the folks’ place, we would offer a handful of things we were thankful for during the year. Well, it seems that Luke has assigned as homework along those sort of lines; before we roll out of bed in the morning, we are to come up withContinue reading “Grateful”

The Box of War

Dearest Rachel – I don’t think you performed this before I was aware of you; at least, not when you performed it for the BASIC group as part of a talent night. If I recall, you had also recited this as part of a similar talent night on the educational cruise you took with yourContinue reading “The Box of War”

The Futility of Collection

Dearest Rachel – So the other day, I started working on those video tapes from downstairs; playing them on one of our old VCRs, running the output through the converter box, and turning them into digital files. I’ll probably be putting one of them up on my channel at some point today, because I needContinue reading “The Futility of Collection”

Thousands of Hours to Go

Dearest Rachel – I went through three VCRs trying to figure out what was going wrong. It turned out that the reason there was no adequate picture was because I shouldn’t have plugged the connection in all the way. I think I’m gonna have to go back and explain this to you. Let me justContinue reading “Thousands of Hours to Go”

The Day You Said ‘Yes’

Dearest Rachel – It’s hard to remember sometimes, but there was a time when the idea of ‘us’ wasn’t a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, as of this day, thirty years ago, it was, for all intents and purposes. It was but a question of when. After all, you had spent time with usContinue reading “The Day You Said ‘Yes’”

The Day of Surgery

Ten years and five months to the day before the accident… 9:35 a.m. I’m writing everyone from Lutheran General Hospital. Rachel was wheeled into surgery just over an hour ago (at 8:30 a.m. – about an hour later than originally scheduled). As most of you know, they’re going to be removing a tumor that’s wedgedContinue reading “The Day of Surgery”

Music For Staring at the Axe

Dearest Rachel – Eleven years ago tomorrow, you went in for surgery to remove a tumor from your brain. At the time, we didn’t know what was going to happen to you; the fact that it was not within the brain was a relatively good sign, and the doctor was fairly certain it would turnContinue reading “Music For Staring at the Axe”

Sleeping In Denim

Dearest Rachel – It seems there are a few memes out there about people who sleep dressed, specifically while wearing jeans… Not sure I understand what the fuss is all about. Between showering after walking home, and therefore changing afterwards (look, it’s August in Chicago – why should I stay in those sweaty clothes anyContinue reading “Sleeping In Denim”

Seeing Other People

Dearest Rachel – It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it now, seeing as to how for so many years the two of us would appear in public practically joined at the hip. But in those early days of our relationship, we had, shall we say, “spaces in our togetherness.” In a way,Continue reading “Seeing Other People”

Digital Cache

Dearest Rachel – I keep wondering when the time will come when I’ve found the last remnant of your memory. After all, everything in life is finite, and you were here for only a limited amount of time. Surely at some point, I will run out of photographs to ruminate over, music or other recordingsContinue reading “Digital Cache”

The Sullen Little Girl and Her Raggedy Ann

Dearest Rachel – This photo hung on the wall – along with a collection of other family photos, but this and the one of their last dog took pride of place, due to their size and prominence – in the hall leading from the family room of your parents’ house to their bedroom, passing byContinue reading “The Sullen Little Girl and Her Raggedy Ann”

Gallagher’s Happy House

Dearest Rachel – There were several things in our lives that we both had knowledge and enjoyment of, but never quite shared as we could have. One, of course, was the nation of Japan (and its attendant culture), which we both visited and fell in love with before we became a couple – you asContinue reading “Gallagher’s Happy House”