We put a bag of baby carrots on the table tonight with our pizza, in your honor. Even Ruthie ate one, saying, “I don’t like baby carrots, but this is for Daddy.”
I got the kids a puppy(!!). Jesse’s been asking, “Do you think Dada would like Tucker?” I say to him, “Well…I think if Daddy were here, he wouldn’t want us to get a puppy yet… He and I talked about it several times… But I wasn’t ready for a puppy either, until everything happened. So it’s different now. I think Daddy would think that it’s great we got a pup, and that he would understand why. And I do think Daddy would like Tucker. He would fall in love with him, just as much as you have.” Jesse said, “Impossible!”
The answers to questions people have like that aren’t simple. I wonder if people want them to be simple, to make it sweet. Or maybe they’re genuinely curious. Many people have said, “Would Chris have loved the colors you picked for the house?” with a smile on their faces, looking up at the warm yellow and blue and green exterior. I try to do you justice. “No,” I say, “he wouldn’t. But I think he would think it looks like a house I would paint, and, since it’s not his house anymore, he’d think that that’s great. He’d be happy for me. And I do think he’d think the light green porch ceiling was a solid choice.”
I got to sing with Preston Lovinggood at Saturn last weekend(!). It really was like a dream come true. I felt alive, meeting new people, being in front of a mic, adding touches of beauty to something bigger and already beautiful. Preston texted before the show: Chris would love that you’re background singing, eh? I had to think about it for a minute and then responded: He’d be happy for me.
It was comforting, after the show, when Charlie said, “I was imagining Chris sitting here watching you…being glad you were getting to do this.” He added, “Nice job, babe,” just as you would say it. I needed to hear those words.
What’s so incredibly painful about all of this is that we’re all just making educated guesses. Putting words in a mouth that no longer speaks.
I so rarely talk to you. I’ve never written you a letter. When I do talk to you–those few times–I can hardly breathe. Mostly I end up shouting, “Where are you?? Why aren’t you here??” You never answer.
But I still have wanted to tell you things. The thing that most stands out is this: It happened just as you said it should, without the life insurance. I know you felt stunned and a measure of guilt when the diagnosis came. But, babe, there is no need unmet. The net is so wide and woven so tightly. The Body is beautiful here on earth. You were right.
I still feel so devastatingly far from you. I still feel like you left me behind, and I sometimes resent you for that. Then I remember how much you didn’t want to die. It’s just hard to reconcile where you are now and where we are–the two places feel so completely unrelated to each other. It doesn’t help that I’m not doing a good job, babe. I’m not. I wanted the experience of walking with you up to the veil to be life-altering for me and our kids. But I feel as bound to this earth as ever. I smoke the cloves from my underwear drawer when I’m stressed with Mary, and I watch Schitt’s Creek on repeat at the end of the day. There’s a shame in feeling like these things would be so undesirable to you now–even more than they were before. And a real shame in feeling like your suffering–and our anguished yet somehow elevated path together those four months–was for naught with me.
I’m actually trusting that Grace is so much more encompassing than all of this–unmanagable, as Gordon said one time. But I hold those feelings of shame, too, within the unmanagable grace. I know they will be swallowed up one day–that they’re swallowed up even now… But I wonder if you can pray for us.
I love you I love you I love you