I cannot believe that an entire month has passed since you left us for your next journey.
Time is standing still, yet also passing so quickly I can barely keep up.
I miss you and think of you so often every day.
A few days ago, I had a vivid dream – you were talking to me, about Christmas plans and what we should buy for the girls this year.
You told me you thought I was doing a great job, and that you were proud of how we were carrying on without you every day.
You walked through our bedroom, leaned on the door frame to the bathroom and folded your arms.
“Keep moving forward. Keep going,” you said.
You were just chatting; your eyes squinting with laughter, your smile so bright.
There was nothing remarkable about the dream – just the way it made me feel: awake, loved, missed, whole.
When I awoke, I scanned the room, looking for you.
The dream was that real.
For a moment, I thought you were still here and I was waking from a dramatically long, sad, months-long dream – unfortunately, reality hit me instead.
I’ve been keeping busy, keeping my mind on other things and trying to occupy my time as best I can.
One of the hardest things for me to accept is the amount of free time I now have.
I am accustomed to spending so much time with you and spending so many hours driving to and from hospice every day.
I drove nearly 9,000 miles during the months you were in hospice care.
It feels weird to me not to have somewhere to go, not to have somewhere to be, and not to have someone to visit.
What do I do now? What do I do with all of this time on my hands?
I guess I’m lucky that the holidays are here; it gives me something to do and something else to focus on.
Although I’m not fully ready to enjoy Christmas the way I normally do, I am trying to keep it as normal as possible for the girls.
One day, I’ll figure it out – I’ll know exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing with my time; whether it be returning to work, returning to school or trying various other things out of my current comfort zone; I’ll figure it out.
You have given me a Christmas gift this year; something totally unexpected.
You worked on it for a while, and even though I knew it was in progress, I never fully understood what you were doing – exactly.
IT changed you, little by little. Looking back, I can see that so clearly.
But you stood firm in many things; IT could not take away your desire to want the best for us, to prepare and shield us from the storm to come.
You gave me, quite simply, me.
You made me better.
You made me stronger.
You made me smarter.
You helped shape me into the best person, wife, mother, friend, daughter and sister I could be.
You forced me to conjure strength within myself I never knew possible.
You allowed me to believe in myself – that I am capable of taking on this world head-on.
You reminded me that, even though things aren’t ideal, there are always reasons to smile. Every day. No matter what.
You have given me the courage to speak up for what I want from this world – and to seek it, prayerfully.
You have given me the opportunity to receive help from others; to admit when I need it and not to be ashamed to accept it.
You helped me find peace with this horrific situation, reminding me that this life is temporary. Love is permanent.
You made me understand that a full life requires nothing more than a full and thankful heart.
You have given me peace of mind by making sure, repeatedly, that you have provided for your girls.
You have given me permission to find peace and joy, to look for both often and without regret or guilt.
You have provided me with a legacy; two beautiful daughters to share our dreams.
I don’t know how you did all that. I’m grateful that you did. And I know you had some help from someone Greater.
Both of you have been working on me for a while.
There were many days throughout this three-year journey where anger would take over and I would just become enraged.
And you always calmed me down, always made sure I knew that time, IT, or even death could not begin to erase the memories we’ve shared, the beautiful life we’ve lived.
I’m trying to figure out exactly who I am; without you, without us, without taking care of you, without spending all of my time fretting over your monthly, weekly, daily changes.
I thank you, so much, for your part in molding me into the person I am at this exact moment.
I could not have been so strong without borrowing some of your strength, and I thank you for lending it to me.
While I miss your footsteps, I thank God for your footprints.