Tuesday, July 21, 2015

One More Letter-One Year Later

Dearest Richard:

Thanksgiving 2004
One year ago today I held your hand and felt you squeeze my fingers one last time. I watched your eyes flutter and then go still. I watched as your chest rose, ever so slightly, and then not rise again. I felt your heart beating weakly as I lay my head on your chest. It was truly the hardest day of my life. And then you were gone.

It has been an entire year. A year that has passed by so quickly. I find it hard to believe that the time has flown past. Even though every day without you was so long and hard the days flew by and now it's been a year.  The pain is still so fresh. I still miss you just as much. I imagine that I always will. And it will always be with just a smidgen of heartache that I think of you.

I didn't think it would be easy to live without you. I just didn't think it would be this hard. Will it get easier? I wish that I could hear you tell me that everything is going to be okay. You always were the up-beat one of the two of us. You always saw the cup as half-full! I miss you so much!

I didn't think the tears could last for a year, but they have. I am always surprised when they come. It might be during a movie, because of a certain smell, a song, or just something someone says. That can all bring about a memory of you. Every single time I think I have cried until I can't cry anymore a fresh supply of tears come. They never seem to end.

We have managed to survive a year of 'firsts' without you. Something I did not feel I could do. But of course I have. Of course life has gone on. Just like we knew it would.

You left me on July 21, 2014 at 5:20 p.m. A date and time that will be forever etched in my heart. In my memory. A part of my life.

Shortly after, on August 6th, we would have celebrated our wedding anniversary. I didn't even think about it that day. It wasn't until days later that I realized I had missed it. Something you never would have done. You always, always remembered. That first year after we were married you brought me roses  every month...one for the first month, two for the second, then three and all the way to a dozen on our first wedding anniversary. You
were so romantic. And I was very lucky.

The kids returned to school in September and I was home alone. The first time since I met you that I was all alone. It was hard. But I survived. The kids miss you but they are so  resilient. I know that you are watching over them. Justin came today! He misses you too.

We survived all the seasons this past year without you. The sun kept coming up every morning. The breezes kept on blowing. Life went all around me. And you were still gone.

Fall, with Halloween and Thanksgiving, came and went. We didn't put up those awful blow-ups that you loved so much. And I didn't make Mrs. Woods Cranberry salad. And it turns out that I figured out how to carve the turkey!

Christmas wasn't the same. We decorated the tree. But we didn't put up the lights outside. Maybe we will this year. Maybe we never will again. Because you will always be missing in all the Christmases of my future.

I managed to make it through Valentine's Day and Easter and Mother's Day and Father's Day without you. We celebrated Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Some of them were uneventful. And some the ache was deep. And some I cried off and on all day long. I miss you.

I love you just as much now as ever.  I always will. I miss you more than I ever thought I would. People around me have moved on. Some think that I have too! Many wish that I would move on! But I'm not moving on!   I don't want to right now. And maybe I never will! You were my rock, my friend, the most important man in my life. I loved you. I adored you! I miss you. Life goes on. It is just different without you. You aren't here. You are gone. Just gone!

Love always,

Paula












30 comments:

  1. Dear Richard, I am so sorry I never got to actually meet you in person, but I feel as if I do know you in small ways, from Paula sharing her memories, her good times, and the times when she feels like her heart has been torn out. She misses you. I miss you because she misses you! Paula has been so strong, but I bet she feels like she hasn't been. The fact is, she has. It hasn't been easy to do the "firsts", first wedding anniversary, or birthday, Christmas, etc without you, yet she has, and life has ticked on. But, Richard, you know, it is very different now and really hard. Some people think, "Chin up buttercup, move on and keep going, stop thinking about the past, it is time to be over this". But I think it is okay that she takes her time, and moves forward when she is ready. Some days will be much harder than others. And I think tears are okay, don't you? I hope that she will be crying happy tears one day, when she has some memories that bring her happiness instead of sadness. Because it is hard to go day to day, hour to hour without your soul mate! You two are very blessed to have each other. I say HAVE, not HAD, because you always WILL have each other. You are just apart for a little while ( it seems like forever...I think a day without you must have seemed like forever) Richard you married a GEM! Richard, there are a bunch of us who are looking out for Paula, and though many of us don't live close by and only know your family through the internet, we will still do what we can to take care of your girl! I sit here now, typing this through tears, because I do feel like Paula is family to me, and I have only known her a short time. I wish I could help her feel better, maybe my blog post today will help. You are missed Richard, and loved more than words could ever say! Love, your friend, Ellie

    HUGS PAULA!! I just felt like writing this in this way for you today!

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    1. Oh Ellie you are so sweet! I wish you could have known him. You guys would have had a lot in common. Well, maybe not the love of the beach. He wasn't a sunshine person because of his ginger coloring! Does the sunshine bother you? Thank you for writing this like you did! It was very personal.

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    2. Hugs for you!! Yes the sun can bother me, but oddly enough, moreso when I wear sunblock! I'm sure he and I would exchange those glances that only gingers exchange with each other! ( Like......"Hey, red hair , cool....did you get called carrot top all the time?") That kind of look!

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    3. Richard just did his best to avoid the sun. He had several bouts with skin cancer over the years. I asked him once if he was teased as a kid because of his hair. He said "no, kids weren't as mean back then". Don't know if I believe that or not. But he wasn't one that would have let that bother him that much.

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  2. No words! Absolutely no words.
    Keeping you in my prayers!

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  3. Oh Paula- reading this broke my heart and tears fell down my face (while I'm at work).
    I can feel your pain through your words. I have no words except that I am sending you big hugs from Texas and prayers for comfort and peace. xoxox

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    1. I hope your mascara was waterproof!! Thank you Holli for always being here for me!

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  4. Paula, I simply couldn't wait to get home to check in. I'm so glad to hear Justin came by! For a minute there I couldn't get further than your first paragraph; I kept reading your words again and over again ... knowing, but hoping all the same it wasn't so.

    I think Ellie's expressed what we're all feeling. Sending lots of love and prayers!

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    1. Yes, it was good of Justin to come. We out to lunch and made a stop at Wal-Mart. Now he sleeps in Papa's recliner. Good day not to be alone! Thanks for all the love and prayers. Ellie is the best, isn't she?

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  5. Ellie did say it so very well; a definite way with words she has, especially today. I am glad you weren't alone for it, Paula, and had company with Justin. I know you would rather have Richard there too. You just continue grieving as you need to grieve and don't worry if people think you should be moving on by now. You lost a great love in Richard; so much was taken away from you the day he passed away. Sending a hug to you on this very hardest of days.

    betty

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    1. Thank you so much Betty! It was a better day than I expected; with Justin here. I appreciate all of your good advice!

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  6. Despite your pain, you have added a lovely letter to your collection of letters to Richard. I have written my blog post in honor of you today. Hope it helps in some small way. Peace!

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    1. Thank you Gram! I'm heading over your way now!

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  7. I'm so sorry. Keeping you in my thoughts.

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  8. I came over from Good Night Grams...I am so sorry...losing someone you love cannot be easy. Your letter is a beautiful tribute to the love you shared! :)

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    1. Thank you very much. And thanks for dropping by!

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  9. Paula, your letter to Richard is so beautiful! ! Some one told me that you never get over losing a loved one, you merely learn to live with it. It's a day to day process. Eventually the memories make you smile as much as cry and then then smile more than you cry. My thoughts and prayers to you, sweet Paula.

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    1. Thank you so much Melanie. I will hang on to this thought!

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  10. Dear Paula - you are a wonderful example of love - love for your husband, the love you shared and the love for your family, who support you now and will be with you ... gorgeous comments - I'm so pleased for you. Have a peaceful second year ... and Melanie said it well ... Eventually the memories make you smile as much as cry and then then smile more than you cry. ... all the best - Hilary

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    1. Thank you so much Hilary! I loved what Melanie said as well. That is what my goal is now!

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  11. Wish this kind of thing didn't hurt so much. Wish it wasn't part of living.Your post brought a few tears to my eyes. The pain of loss through a death is a universal experience - especially of you love deeply. And wishing just doesn't change anything when a piece of you gets taken away permanently. Hugs to you dear Paula. This "first" is now past.

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    1. Thank you Elaine. Yes, I am glad this 'first' is over!

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  12. Hang in there Paula. I love you.

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  13. Oh, Paula, what a hard year. I wonder sometimes, as Bo continues to decline, am I already grieving? Does this mean that the grief will be less? Or more? Nancy

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    1. I was Richard's caregiver for 3 years...24/7..before he died. I thought I had been through the grieving process. But then it hit me a couple days after he died and it was a very hard year! I think we all won't know until we go through it.

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