I haven't written to you for some time now, simply because it has hurt too much to do so. But on this day, a day I wanted so much to celebrate with you, I have to tell you that I miss you. So, so much. I walked in the shade of your brilliance for so long, grew so accustomed to your light and energy leading and protecting me, that this vacuum you left behind is sometimes too much to bear. Sometimes I have no idea where I am going without you beside me. So many times now I have simply wanted to talk to you, to hold you, to laugh with you. I can never do these things again. Your headstone is the final, physical reminder that your life with me has ended and I will have to carry on without you. It's still surreal and unfathomable to me, to know I have a full life ahead of me and I won't be enjoying it with you.
I drove into the mountains this weekend to be with my friends and attempt to enjoy a last weekend of summer before the fall comes to remind me of this past year of pain and sorrow. I thought of you the entire time as I wound around those roads we traveled together just nine months ago. I felt so much promise then, so much hope, that we could beat this thing and you would be a success story. I thought it would happen, I truly did, but in the end this was God's plan for you and I struggle every day to accept it. I saw you in every ray of sunshine this weekend and spoke to you in the dark as I stared into the embers of the campfire. I didn't find any answers but I found memories I had forgotten and will continue to savor and reflect on the great times we spent together.
If you made your peace with God before the end and accepted your fate, I will continue to do the same, even though it will never ease my hurt to not have you here with our children. Already they are changing and growing in your absence. Camryn told me that it's time for you to come down from Heaven already. She understands you have left us and soon will understand just how permanent it is. Coral is confused and angry and we are all trying out best to lead her through this to some understanding of why her mother is gone. I think they will be ok, but it's not going to be easy, not ever. I just continue to teach them how much you loved them and how important it is to lead lives you would be proud of.
I'm finding solace in simple things now. Butterflies have become your avatar and we see them constantly, in the most unlikely places. They flutter up to Josh in the welding shop. They flash across our paths in the cemetery, in the car, at work, everywhere. Jen has given us three butterflies to raise and release in your memory and I can't wait to see them spread their wings and fly away on the currents of your spirit. They are children of summer and so perfectly reflect the path of your life: born, beautiful, carefree, living quickly and furiously, and then gone from the world all too quickly. I will always see you in the beautiful colors of their wings.
As I finish writing these words it is no longer your birthday, but this was the only gift I could give you. We may have started a new tradition tonight, a small gathering in your honor, choosing to relish your memory for one day rather than mourning it. I drank to you, and polished off a few of your favorite amaretto sours, even if they were a bit too sweet for my taste. You always loved that drink. Even if I couldn't spend today with you I would spend today for you, and I think we all did it in our own fashion. Cori sent balloons to you and Cam wants them back. Happy birthday my love.
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