All year long I planned to write you a letter on or near the anniversary of your death. Sometimes I considered writing you letters throughout the year and saving them as email drafts, and I have very often done exactly that in my head. But as the important date(s) crept up on me, I’ve found myself having a terrible time getting started. And for a while I was not sure why.
Somehow, over the past year, I’ve trained myself not to talk about you. And it’s not because I don’t miss you or I’m totally over it or I’ve forgotten about you. It is none of those things. But still, it was something I subconsciously felt was necessary, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever adequately explain it to anyone, but somehow I know you would understand it, if you were here.
I feel kind of bad, though, because not talking about you so much means I haven’t done the job I should have done when it comes to helping support your people through this. Jeramy, Maria, Chris, Jared, Gregg, your sister, your parents…I planned to reach out to all of them frequently. I planned to help take care of them in your absence. But I found I couldn’t talk about you much, and it was strange, me at a loss for words, me having trouble expressing my emotions, and so I withdrew and I barely talked to anyone about how I felt. I am sorry I didn’t do this for you. I hope, if any of them reads this, that they sort of understand and aren’t too disappointed in me.
I’m doing okay, mostly. On balance, my life is pretty good these days. But I miss you terribly. I miss celebrating the good stuff with you. I miss talking through the hard stuff with you. I miss the last ten-plus years of knowing you were never more than a phone call away, through my late lonely nights, through my musing early mornings, through my triumphs and my challenges. I never had a close friend for as long as I had you. You, who didn’t need my backstory, who didn’t need to have things explained, who could tell how I was doing by a mere change in my breathing or the pitch of my voice. I miss your strong scarred hands and the graceful arches of your feet and your deep eyes and your mischievous grin and your stupid occasional beard. I miss you more than I ever thought it was possible to miss anyone.
But every day I get up and I go to work and I take care of my people and I try to be the person you insisted I have always been. I keep doing it and sometimes it hurts a little less.
Of all the songs on all the mixes you made for me over the years, the one that touched me the most was “Colorblind.” It could have been written about you, and kind of about me, and I know you know that and that’s why you made it the first track on that disc. But I don’t think I ever talked to you about it. I’m listening to it now, and I’m letting myself cry for you for the first time in a while. I wish you were here.
I’ll write you again next year. I love you forever.