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Another Open Letter To My Late Husband

Fourteen years.  Just three years shy of how old I was when we first met.  Such a long time.  Sometimes, it feels like you are just a vapor – a flash of memory so sweet it can’t be real.  Other times, it feels like you are the solid ground where my feet were always intended to be planted so that I might grow strong into a future where you aren’t.  Both are true.


So much has changed since you’ve been gone.  Would you believe our little town now has eight restaurants?  What-a-burger was our only real choice when you were here (you know I hate barbeque).  I know you would have traded Troutman’s for the new Mexican place where the old gas station used to be.  You always loved a free appetizer.  One of my favorite secret things I learned about you after you died was that you were a regular at Troutman’s after your Tuesday training rides.  I had no idea until the waitresses told me when I would take the girls there for breakfast before school.  You little sneak.  You always acted like you were famished and hadn’t eaten after a grueling training ride so I wouldn’t mind that you ate the girls’ snacks at night after they slept.

You And Me At The Start....

Restaurants and secret eating habits are one thing, another thing that’s changed is the family you left behind.  Aidan – now Ellie – is following in your footsteps at Western Carolina.  She’s doing it in more ways than one, too.  Without me telling her or you here to show her, she’s figured out how to get by with the least amount of effort in school and still do well.  I can’t fault her – it makes me laugh inside to know you barely squeezed by and still turned out to be an amazing professional and person.  She’ll be the same, even though I do my best to fuss at her and make her feel like she’s got to work harder like any good parent should.  Sometimes she doesn’t like to be compared to you as much as she is, but there is really very little about her that doesn’t make me think of you.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s emotional in all the ways that she thinks are bad now but will prove to be the best part of her later.  It’s also cute when her tiny little self gets puffed up to try to defend people she loves.   I’m proud of her.  You would be, too.


It Doesn't Take Much To See You In Her....

Wes would absolutely amaze you.  She has your hair.  Not the same color, but everything else about it – its length and fullness and beauty – are totally yours.  But well beyond that, she would surprise you in so many ways.  She’s probably the wisest person I know.  By a long shot, and that includes adults.  She’s put me quietly and lovingly in my place multiple times with her wisdom and caring nature.  She’s solved problems in our family that I couldn’t, and with so much ease I can’t help but wonder where she’s getting her intel from.  Probably you.  She looks for hints of you in everything.  She wears that rock bracelet you gave me so long ago at Paradise Falls.  She’s had your senior picture displayed on the back of her phone case for years.  People ask sometimes if that’s her boyfriend.  She always says, no.  That’s my dad.  She’s proud of you.

The Baby You Always Said Was Beautiful....

Some things that would surprise you have changed, too.  I can’t even begin to tell you what’s been happening with your bestie.  I’m sure you have a better seat and can understand even better than Chris can, but from down here – it’s a head scratcher.  Darren is still keeping me solid with flooring and tile work, but it’s fun to watch him moving into other interests for sure.  He sure likes toys!  I’m envious of his Sprinter “van life” (you would have loved that, by the way).  He's doing good.   And Shane.  I am so thankful to Shane for becoming a true friend to me – not that the others aren’t, but Shane somewhere along the way made the thoughtful decision to befriend me – Melissa – and not just Adam’s wife.  I’m forever grateful to him for his unwavering support and friendship.  We’ll see what kind of trouble we can get into together.  He and Kristi have decided to be brave enough to come and work with me in the mountains.  Send them some luck.  I know you know all too well how challenging I can be sometimes, and I’ve got the face palm memories to prove it.  They weren’t a thing when you were alive, but they have these things called emojis now.  There’s a face palm one, and if you were here, I’m confident my text feed from you would be full of them.

David's Brood You Never Met....

Your brother is doing ok.  He’s had it a little rough this last year.  I remember thinking when he was getting married that I should really tell him what you would have thought about his choice in a wife, but I didn’t.  Well, you nailed it.  She turned out to be exactly who you always said she was.  I wish I had spoken up.  I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head, that tiny nagging that probably was you nudging me to say something.  But I don’t regret it.  I have – after almost five long years – two of the greatest little nephews to add to the list I already had in Steph and Todd.  River and Branch are the coolest little guys, and I’m doing my best to corrupt them as you would have wanted.  I’ve stopped short of spray paint as gifts for them, but I’m getting in your mischievous uncle jabs for you where I can.


And lastly, your mom.  I want you to know that I heard you, and I’ve done what you’ve asked.  That relationship is healing, and I know it is moving towards what you would want.  And that’s forgiveness.  If you were here, you may well have offered it yourself.  It may take some time to get all the way there, but you’re worth it.

Your Letters From The Past Still Speak....

Next year will be fifteen. Then sixteen.  Then twenty.  Then more.  The time between you and now races by and creeps at the exact same time.  I don’t understand why you are gone any more today than I did at day one, but maybe understanding isn’t the point.  Maybe the point is to just be thankful for the you that I did have and for the everyday reminders that right now is all anyone ever really has.  You’d want us to enjoy it.  Thank you for that lesson.


I love you.


1 comentário

This touched my heart! I am happy to say I have experienced a piece of heaven at the Yurts and have gotten to know an amazing lady. We love you Melissa and your beautiful family!💚🙏

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