Letters from home 1

Dear Kim,

I can’t find the words to tell you how much I miss you. The sound of your voice, the touch of your hand – the simple knowledge of your presence as we pursued our various tasks throughout the day.

I remember your “squirrel maneuver” – the way you’d clear the water from your eyes when swimming or showering. I remember the softness of your kiss, and the sparkle in your eye when you were being playful. The beauty of your face with your head on the pillow. The way you could find things to laugh at when things weren’t as pleasant as they should be. Through 31 years of marriage, those things changed so little.

I’ve been taking care of your plants in your craft room for you. I think I’ve gotten the hang of it – the peace lilies appear to be thriving, and it looks like that little rose plant I gave you that you had such a hard time keeping alive may be coming back. I put your heater on them for a few hours each morning, since that room is so cold all the time, and water them every other day. I took all the dead stuff off of the plants as well. You should see them – I think you’d be proud of me.

When I walk into your craft room, my gaze still settles on the chair where, in life, I’d invariably find you. I dwell on that view, imagining you swiveling around to greet me with a smile. Pieces of the last quilt you were working on – the one I had to help you with so much as the neuropathy took the feeling from your fingers – are still there, though they’ve been moved from where you left them. The girls have been using your craft room for various projects – Jessica, to dry the flowers from your funeral and encase them in resin; Jeanette, to work on embellishments for the clothes worn by members of her pageant team; and Jillian, to paint pictures for her art class at school.

A little while ago, Vanessa commented that I should have a blanket in the car for her drive to school in the morning. I’ve taken the RealTree-patterned fleece and the hunter orange fleece – the ones you were making pillows for the hunters in the family with – and I’ll brave your sewing machines to make them into a reversible blanket. I figured I would sew them together on three sides, and most of the way on the fourth, then pull it inside out and finish the fourth side by hand. I know you’d approve of my “plan” and I think you’ll be proud of the blanket when it’s done.

My thoughts often go back to when we were dating. I knew you were the one when I couldn’t get you off of my mind – a condition that descended on me just a few months after we started dating. Through our marriage, though, in the words of Willie Nelson, you were always on my mind: that ever-presence changed to more of a knowledge that you were there, accessible, a part of who I am. Now, I’m back to the dating scenario, where I can’t get you off of my mind but, unlike those days, I can’t call you, except in my prayers; I can’t come over to where you are until my days are through.

I don’t have any desire to leave here early – God’s gift of life is not one to be squandered – but I know that, when that time does come, we’ll be reunited, so it leaves me hopeful. As hopeful as that young man that couldn’t get you off of his mind; who had his heart set on marrying you.

I love you, Kitten. And I know somewhere, you’re saying “Ditto.”

Je’ t’aime.

What goes around comes around, then goes around again

I ‘ve always been a bit reclusive. If given the choice between going to a party or gathering, or doing something with just Kim and I (and later, Kim, the kids, and I…), it would be rare that I would choose the gathering (unless with family).

In our early life together, all of our siblings, cousins, and friends were getting married, and we were constantly at weddings. When she couldn’t find any of her girlfriends, Kim would drag me (quite literally) to the floor for those fast tempo songs, but most often, she would dance with her friends, and I’d sit at the table sipping a beer, watching, waiting for the song to end so I could be with her again.

About four or five years into our marriage, I got a bent for community service – one that sticks with me to this day, and which I’ve imparted to my children. Kim enjoyed these activities, too, but wasn’t able to engage in them to the degree I could because, when working, she worked afternoons or midnights. I am adept at picking up tasks, and I’m usually hell-bent on getting them done quickly and efficiently – which makes you sort of popular with these groups. We’d go to the parties or functions for the various groups I was involved in and, invariably, someone or other would drag me off to meet someone, or discuss something, leaving Kim to fend for herself, waiting until I could break free so we could be together again.

Now, it has come full circle, I guess, and she has left me sitting here on earth, waiting until I can be with her again…