Thursday, January 20, 2011

Five Years Later

Dear Pete,

It's hard to believe that today marks five years that you're gone. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, while at other times I feel like decades have passed. I know you're safely outside of time and all its constraints. But let me tell you--time is a force to be reckoned with.

You would be turning sixty years old in a few days. I'd be planning some kind of shindig, for sure. Maybe a party for your friends, maybe a trip to New Mexico to see that mysterious staircase built without nails that you used to talk about. You liked the legend that either a saint or an angel showed up, built it, and vanished. I may have to go and check it out on my own someday.

The kids are fine, as I'm sure you know. And I'm doing all right. I'm working, taking classes, seeing my friends, walking Riga every day. You'd be proud of all the work I've gotten done on the house--all by myself! I was quite the princess while you were around, never allowed within two rooms of a repair or installation. So I've had to figure out a lot by myself, sometimes the hard way. Even in heaven, the thought of me strolling into Home Depot must make you shudder.

You were right when you said I'd be okay. It's taken a long time, but I've reached a certain level of peace with my situation. I'll never like it, but it's livable. I think that the C. S. Lewis analogy comparing the loss of one's spouse to an amputation is the most accurate description. A physical part is missing; there's no escaping that fact. First there's shock, then grief, then adjustment, and finally, after much pain and effort, one arrives at a manageable life. But the constant awareness of the missing part never ends.

There's still plenty for me to be grateful for, with much joy to be shared among family and friends. Life is good. But when I wake up in the morning or lie down at night, I'm always aware of what's missing.