Last week, I had nothing to say. Suddenly, over the last 48 hours I've had so much going through my head, I've had to write it all down. Here's one letter I wrote to Jer this morning:
Hello, my love.
I had a dream about you last night that shook me a little, and I wanted to share it before I forgot:
What I remember is being out in the bush somewhere (that's right, you've trained me now to say 'bush' instead of 'woods' - totally your Canadian influence).
I heard a gun shot.
I came running to the sound, and you were sitting in the driver's seat of your old green work truck. I got the sense that you had jumped in there quickly to hide the fact that it was you who got shot in the leg and you didn't want me to see or worry.
I started asking questions, and you were telling me that you had to go for just a few minutes to finish up some things and you'd be back. Suddenly, I knew that if you'd leave, someone was going to kill you - I actually foresaw you getting shot in the chest. So, I begged and pleaded for you not to go, sobbing and trying to explain to you that you'd get hurt if you left and to please please please stay with me. You kept trying to reassure me that it was no big deal, and you'd be back in a few minutes.
I remember stepping back from the truck and watching your face. It wasn't the agony I saw on your face from my last dream, where you wanted to help me but couldn't. This time, it felt more like a 'I have to go' look - like you staying with me wouldn't change the future, or the inevitable. And you were totally clueless as to the possibility of you getting hurt.
And that's what I woke up with today...feeling like no matter how much I begged and pleaded, if I had the foresight to know you were going to die, it wouldn't have changed anything.
I can't tell you how many nights I laid awake wishing I could have been with you when you died. I know I probably wouldn't have been able to save you, but I would have been with you, I would have been able to see you and be with you, and be your last memory. But in the back of my head, I know that wish comes from a delusion that I would have done something - anything - to keep that moment from happening: driven you to the hospital or something and demanding they check your heart immediately, no matter the cost.
I hate knowing that you were alone when you died. I hate knowing that you were laying on the cold ground for hours before anyone found you. I hate replaying a thousand scenarios in my head about what happened and what you did with your last moments. But then I think that if it didn't happen that way, the kids might have watched you die, and I think that would have been far worse. Or if you hadn't been there for awhile, you wouldn't have been able to line up people in my life to get me to you when I found out.
I've never been cooky about dreams before, or felt like they were meant for me to learn something, but I feel that way when I dream about you. Like you're trying to tell me something or my own subconscious is trying to work things out. This morning, I feel this parallel to that horrible day, when I felt this weird pull for you not go hunting that day because I really wanted to spend time with you, but knowing I would never ask that of you because you loved it and I know it was therapy for you, so I always let you go. Or that odd few moments in the truck with you before we dropped you off, when you were hesitant to leave.
You told me not to worry.
You told me you promise to spend time with me when you got home.
It's weird because Faith has recalled countless times that you said you'd be home that night. I've heard her say at least a dozen times "Daddy said he would be home at 7 or 8, but instead he died." It shakes my core to hear her say that but I know she's trying to understand it all too. That night, I had bathed the kids, cleaned their rooms, brushed their teeth, and we sat on the couch reading a bunch of books, waiting for you to get home....I told them they could wait up. We were never usually that organized at bedtime, I always waited for you. It was like a prelude to the rest of my days: getting the kids ready by myself. You were always bedtime routine helper, since that's when you got to spend the most time with them.
So many ironies that I don't know whether to be thankful for or angry at. So many 'coincidences' have happened, that I feel God's hand in it - and it's almost aggravating to know all those little steps could have all been skipped over by keeping you around....it sure would have saved Him some time. I believe in a God of intervention: saving lives, every day miracles - why couldn't you have been one?
But, that's what I face now - uncertainty.
Uncertainty about God's plan with all this. Uncertainty about how the rest of my life is going to play out. Uncertainty about my strength to keep going. I guess we're never really supposed to know what God has up His sleeve - that's why we're not God, right? I just wish I could come up with a reasonable scenario that makes your death justifiable and I just can't. My little human understanding cannot wrap my brain around anything good enough to warrant you leaving our family forever. It's selfish, I know, but we still need you so badly here.
I'm waiting for the day to meet you in Heaven, I want to be with you so much it hurts. I imagine getting there and suddenly just knowing the 'whys' of all this, and it won't matter, cause I'll be with you finally. I sit around all day thinking about being reunited with you, to feel safe in your big, strong arms again. Death is something I no longer fear for myself. It's become something I strangely look forward to.
I miss you, baby. Every fiber of my being hurts without you. Every ache and pain I have is amplified with your loss. Every tear falls stronger because I have felt a loss so great. Everything about me and my life has changed in one horrific moment. And right now that one moment defines me, shapes me, haunts me, and affects every moment of the rest of my life. I will never be the same without you. I miss the girl I was with you. I don't know who I am anymore.
You promised that we'd spend some time together, and I expect you to keep that promise when I see you next. I pray that it's someday soon. In the meantime, could you meet me in my dreams and come a little closer? I haven't been able to touch you yet, or feel you close to me - you're always far away, out of arm's reach. I need a hug, I need you to hold me and tell me this is going to be okay. You're the only one I'd believe anyway.
I love you with all that I am.
Forever and always,