Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dear Leonard

God, how I love you. Oh how this hurts. Each day I wake up on the couch-because I cannot bear to be in our room-and it hits me fresh again. What has happened to us? I miss you so much...too much. Each day this burden, this knowing, gets even harder to handle.

I was going through your top drawer today, just wanting to touch your things...the things that were important to you... and I found a stack of cards. All of the cards I had ever given you. The ones you used to fake roll your eyes over and ask,"Do I have to read the whole thing right now?" or "Did you have to add even more writing..." The ones you used to read and then look over at me and smile and say,"That's very nice,dear and I love you too" because you didn't know what else to say. You confessed that to me once. I read through every one of those cards, picking and slicing and slashing at this wound you have left that will never heal. And I counted. I counted 37 times (how funny that matches our ages) where I wrote that I could never possibly imagine a life without you in it. A fear...realized.

I was remembering how I would tell you to drive safe and wear your seat belt every morning when you left for work and thinking of how you were found with your seatbelt on. I remembered how I would call you every morning about 25 minutes after you left and say,"I just wanted to make sure that you made it to work okay..." until you asked me to stop using that phrase and to call you "just to say hello". I remember that really rough day you were having at work when you called me to say that you just needed to hear the sound of my voice. I don't think you have any idea how much I loved the sound of your voice... how much I crave it now. I need you so much.

I keep thinking back to Friday night, laying on your chest and listening to your heartbeat...and feeling safe. Saturday morning, just the two of us, drinking coffee and talking and you opening your heart up to me. Of running your fingers through my hair as I lay in your lap-of switching places and laying your head in my lap. Noting that your hair was beginning to gray at the temples (just a touch) and how unbelievable it was that you would be even more stunning to look at. Of picking up James that night and watching "Charlotte's Web" together. Of holding a washcloth to your head later on because you had a headache and couldn't sleep. Of laying there with you that last night and just running my hands along your skin.

Of that night, a long time ago, when we were out with friends and I was telling a story. Of you leaning over as I was talking, and kissing me. Then leaning back and winking at me (with that incredibly delicious wink) and saying,"I'm sorry. What were you saying? I couldn't help myself."

I long for your arms and your hands and your eyes. I can't imagine this. I need you. I need you. I need you so badly.

The friends and family have left. The phone doesn't ring sometimes all day. A few really wonderful people call, but I am sure I am driving them away because I can't be "me" anymore, and nothing they say is remembered. And I am so incredibly alone. Your death has affected and hurt so many people that I understand that it is easier for them to avoid it. Avoid us. The few times I have gone somewhere to see our friends or family I am the third wheel. I am jealous. I am longing. and I am loving you. And it is the most painful thing to feel your heart break over and over again until you start to wonder if you really could die of a broken heart.

I took our son out to dinner tonight at a restaurant you hated...because I cannot handle going to our family places and he is being such a good boy. He is surviving and you would be proud, but he misses you. And a lot of the time when we talk about you and he starts to cry all I can do is cry with him and tell him I am sorry and wish like hell that I could change places with you. And the restaurant is surrounded by places I have been with you...Lowe's and the theater where we just took the kids to see the Simpson's movie and I said that we shouldn't have to pay to see what you can see at home for free and you laughed because that was the first scene and the first thing Homer said...and you squeezed my hand behind James' head. And your daughter isn't facing this, and she doesn't want to be around me, and I am messing this up, faltering so badly that it's time for you to come home now.

I miss you. I miss us.

17 comments:

Jess said...

I know the memories hurt now but thank goodness you have so many clear memories of your sweet husband. I am looking over at my husband right now who is sound asleep and thinking that I can't remember the last time I laid his head on my lap and ran my fingers through his hair, just spending time. And because he is one of the two most important people in my life I need to make more time for him and show him how much I love him- thank you for reminding me of that. And I know your husband loved and appreciated you so very much. What a wonderful wife you are to him.

BIG, BIG hugs to you, my dear.

Sharpie said...

YOU are not messing anything up. You are feeling and you are hurting and you are allowed to do those things. Cripes, I don't know how you get out of bed.... I don't think I could. But, I would, I guess.

Leonard was a wonderful man and your stories are amazing. He was lucky to have such a beautiful, intelligent, loving wife. But, he knew he did. Trust me, he did.

I know that you feel alone right now. I know that when I read your posts - I cry with you. My heart aches for you. And know that if there was such a thing as a virtual hug - I send one to you every day. I know others do as well. I pray for your pain to ebb away.

Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for making me a better person, a better wife. You know where I am if you need to laugh a little.

Much love.

Haylee said...

When my Daddy died suddenly at age 44, my Mom was left to rear 6 children - 7,8,9,and 3 teen-aged girls. At 15, I was the youngest of the teenagers.

In our community, wakes were usually held in the family home. I remember standing by Daddy's coffin and over-hearing my oldest sister tell her friend that it was too bad that Mom hadn't gone at the same time -- her point being that they had such a great marriage and made such a great team.

To this day, I still remember the feeling of sheer terror upon hearing her say that. Until a short 2 days before, death only happened to other people -- my "personal fable" was smashed to smithereens.

The fear of losing my Mom filled my thoughts -- obsessively. I was so angry with my sister for even thinking such a thing let alone giving voice to it. The truth of the matter is that she was just being philisophical - as much as one can be at 19 -- and that she would be devastated as well.

Still, it bothered me to the point of distraction. I knew fully well how much our parents loved us yet I was worried that Mom would want to be with Daddy and if she wanted it bad enough, it could happen.

About 6 weeks after he died, I overheard my Mom saying her night-time prayers and asking God to please keep her well until at least the children were all raised.

What a relief I felt!

Laura, I share this with you NOT as any sort of admonition but rather a caution as to the strange workings of a child's mind.

James's "personal fable" is now broken too and I know you wouldn't want him to be fretting over losing you as well. He may think that you wishing to change places may get you there.

I will echo the sentiments of others by thanking you for sharing your story of your courtship with Leonard. It certainly is a fairy tale - I am only sorry your "happily ever after" was so tragically short.

Peace & blessings to you today.

Michele said...

Sharpie said it perfectly. Everything you are saying is making me really appreciate what I have. I know this is cold comfort, that your loss and sorrow is making me a better wife to my living husband, but I needed that. And it also underlines how terrible and surreal this must all be for you. I am so, so sorry.

Jess T said...

Oh, Laura. Tears are welling in my eyes. I just cannot imagine, do not want to imagine, what you are going through. I am so sorry.

My heart is heavy for you today.

HUGS!
Jess

Shelly said...

Oh sweetie, I am so so sorry. He sounds like he was just a fabulous husband and I am so deeply sorry for your loss. If you ever want to talk to a total stranger, email me at sm_rl@hotmail.com and I'll send you my phone number. You could call and I would listen to anything you want to say. It might be a break from all the people who knew him and are hurting too.

sherry said...

I came via Sharpie and Michele. And, I must echo Sharpie's sentiments, too. The fact you're still moving and living is a testament to your strength. And, like Miss Sharpie said, I must thank you for being so brave and sharing your story with all of us. I cried with you, too, today.

I'm not sure it helps at all, but I'm here, sending all the love and sanity I can possibly muster to you and your family.

Marsha said...

Send me an email with your phone number, or I will send you mine, I know I am a stranger, but oh well.

I don't really know anything about what is right or wrong way to grieve, or how those choices will effect your kids. I think that it is ok to grieve, that maybe they are not able to feel the full extent of his loss right now, but when it does come for them they will know it is ok, because they saw you go through it. I also think it would be harder on them if you didn't grieve, if you hid it from them. I am sure you will find a way to connect with your daughter. Or maybe your dad or someone else would be willing to reach out to her for now.

I am sorry, I suck at advice. I think your writing is brilliant. I hope that putting it all out there and knowing people are sending good wishes helps. Email me your phone number. marshamlow@yahoo.com

Tessie said...

You're not messing it up. You're remembering him, and that's so important. Plenty of people will be trying to get them to forget.

Artemisia said...

You are not messing anything up. You are all going to grieve differently; sometimes together and sometimes separately. If you make yourself available to your daughter, you are doing everything just right.

I am thinking of you.

Laurie said...

Hi Laura,
I do not have a daughter but in all of my friends relationships, one thing rings true in my heart. The more they avoid each other in times like these, it only proves how very much alike they are. Your pain in losing Leonard is so raw and so deep.
He is the best man you have ever known in your life. I am sure he was this same man in her life, her hero.
Kind of like you mentioning your MIL stating he was HER son, he was YOUR husband. Your everything, your daughters everything too. It is not personal towards you, and in no way are you messing it up. Two women missing the same wonderful man. It may be too close for her to approach right now but she will feel it in watching you and in time realize there was more than enough room in Leonards heart for both of you and sharing the same feelings of loss is okay. Daughters seem to want their identity separate from their mothers and do things their own way. Your pain just reminds her of her own.
I am praying for all of you to find your own way on this path of grief.
I'm sending you big heart hugs today and hope you feel them in the breeze or the sunshine. And Leonard will always be in everywhere you want to avoid because you carry him in your heart, always.
Laurie in Ca.

Erica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica said...

Laura,

I honestly have no idea what to say to you. This is my first visit to your blog and the pain I read in your words has reduced me to tears. I, too, have lost a spouse and the memories have all come flooding back in one giant wave of grief.

I know that this will sound trite and hollow to your freshly wounded soul, but I have to say it. It will get better. There will always be a hole in your heart where Leonard lives, but it won't always be so raw and gaping. You'll go through a phase where things are a little brighter, and then you'll feel guilty that you don't hurt as much. That's all normal, too.

Hug your kids and hold on tight. Be there for each other and remember your Leonard every chance you get.

I will keep you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Oh my word...I just found your blog via "Life With Hannah and Lily" a couple of days ago and I almost can't read your posts. The pain you're feeling is unimaginable, and yet through your writing my heart breaks, your pain is so real to me. I am so sorry you are suffering this horrendous loss, I don't even have words to tell you how sorry I am. However you sound like an incredible person and YOU ARE NOT FAILING, you are surviving it, and you will be there for your kids and they will grow up to be strong, empathetic, caring people because of it.
Words can not do it justice, I am so sorry.
J

rachd said...

Oh, Honey, I'm SO sorry this continues to be painful. I'm so so sorry.

Your Leonard was one in a trillion and you were blessed to have him. Blessed. Hold your babies. Love them. They need you and you need them.

You are doing so well (even though you don't see it). Just keep hanging on, even if it is with just one tiny pinky. You are an amazing woman and my prayers are for you to find some peace and some easing of this pain.

Big BIG HUGS again this evening, Laura. Big HUGS.

Shari said...

All the commenters before me said the things I wanted to say in different ways.

I look at my husband who, some days, I feel like he's more like my father than my husband because he's so critical. I need to focus on what brought us together. I find myself jealous of the relationship you and Leonard had. How special he was to you.

You are doing all you can. You are stronger than you think. Everyone grieves on a different timetable. You'll be okay. Stay close to your family. Your daughter probably needs to work this out differently. You are not messing up.

Cyber Hugs sent your way. God bless you.

Gina said...

I want you to know that I think of you often.

People can be so hurtful, even when they think they are helping, and I am sorry that you are feeling so alone.

You aren't alone, even if it feels that way.

You are in no way messing anything up.

You are a dear, sweet, eloquent woman that I am privileged to know. If I can help you in any way, as far as I am, don't hesitate to let me know.