One hundred and eight months.
Four hundred and sixty eight weeks.
Three thousand, two hundred and eighty five days.
Seventy eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty eight hours.
However you count it …… it’s been eons …… and it’s been an instant.
I know that to you, my first and only love, it’s been a blink of an eye.
And in that, I envy you.
Actually, I envy you a lot more in other ways, too.
I still …… and will always …… wish that it had been me.
I wish that you were still here to continue the good that you were doing.
I wish that you were still here to be with our sons and to continue to guide them.
I wish that you were here to give our daughters away, to love their partners, to be blessed by their children.
I wish that you were here to do a better job than I have, or will.
But I don’t wish you the pain.
I don’t wish you the loneliness.
I don’t wish you the missing of half of your heart.
I don’t wish you the cold, inky darkness that comes less often, but still comes.
I don’t wish you the loss of the expectations of “what was to be”.
I don’t wish you the loss of friendships.
I don’t wish you the loss of innocence.
I don’t wish you the loss of joy.
Joy is still here, though it took a while to make an appearance.
Or to be felt.
But it’s not the same joy as before.
How could it be?
Yet it is joy, nonetheless, and I don’t take it for granted.
I don’t take anything for granted.
And thankfully …… I can honestly say …… that I never took you for granted.
I felt thankful, almost every single day of our life together, that you were in mine.
I felt surprise, almost every single day of our life together, that God gave me you.
I have no expectations that He will give me another love.
You see, I never felt that I deserved you.
Which made me all the more grateful for you.
So now, nine years later, I can publicly admit that “what I deserved” …… caught up with me.
Nine years ago today.
Part of me would like to have love again.
Part of me feels exhausted at the thought.
And most of me knows that it’s not in the cards.
Lightning won’t strike twice in my life.
And that’s ok.
I have a good life.
I can’t complain.
Or …… I shouldn’t complain.
So I try not to.
All 6 kids are now amazing adults.
Daughter #2 has blessed us with a grandson.
Not in the usual way, but then she rarely did things in the “usual way”, did she?
Daughter #3 married this year.
She married a man who reminds me so much of you when we were that age that sometimes it catches my breath.
You’d love him, too.
Daughter #1 has had quite the life in the last 9 years, starting with Harvard, which you didn’t get to know about.
She’s had more of a struggle finding out where she belongs, but she has love.
It might not be the love that we expected, but it’s love and it’s a constant in her life.
She’s doing well and she’ll be ok.
Son #1 is doing pretty much what we thought he’d be doing …… working hard and living life on his own terms.
He’s happy …… and I’m proud.
Son #2 took the hard road, as we knew he would. I wish that you could see him now. Maybe you can? I’d love to think so. He continued to march to his own drum beat and is successful and living life to the fullest.
My heart nearly bursts when I think of him.
And Son #3.
Truthfully, he’s the one who makes me miss you most.
I miss you at Homecoming.
I miss you when I’m watching the games on TV.
I miss you so very much supporting him at our school.
He’s a Cowboy through and through.
The pride I feel for him and how hard he’s worked to be involved and yet maintain an excellent GPA is indescribable.
I love each of them fiercely.
Because I love them for both of us.
Yes, my life is good.
Different, but good.
I live in a town I never would’ve believed I’d EVER live.
I spend way more time with a two year old than I would’ve ever imagined.
And I have a tiny little dog that I never would’ve believed I’d love as much as I do.
Who’d of thunk?
It’s a different life.
One I didn’t plan.
One I wish I didn’t have to live without you.
But there you go.
I miss you.
I will never stop missing you.
And I will never not cry when I type those words.
I hope you can see me.
I hope you can feel my love.
And I hope, more than anything else, that you’re proud of me.
It’s been hard, Jim.
So very hard.
But I’m living.
For me …… and for you.
And I think that’s something.
I love you tons.
And I’ll see you soon.