Originally posted on Facebook.
by Jane Brackrog (Notes) on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:25pm
February 26, 2013
My dearest late husband,
I'm writing this perhaps for several reasons. First of all, it's our 5th wedding anniversary without you now, and so much has happened, both on a personal and a more global level. Secondly, as always, I hope anyone else who's had similar experiences will benefit. Maybe some have wondered if their course has been erratic or if their feelings have been normal.
That month of October 2008 seemed to mark the entry into another portal or era, if you will. Indeed, that whole year felt different. Wasn't it that year that we both heard of the fall of several firms, Lehman Brothers among them? Wasn't it that very first part of the month of October that 9 executives showed up in Washington, D.C. and Henry Paulsen announced the approval of the TARP program? I think you would recall the significance of these events if you were sitting here now. And wasn't it just the 11th when you bantered with my relatives about such things at a party?
Imagine my horror on the 22nd then when I came home from work to find that you had quite suddenly left this earth that morning when you returned home after dropping me off! Yes, my love, my world shattered in an instant. But what I never told you apart from the global turmoil we witnessed unfolding was that I'd had a dream of just such an event a year prior, close to my birthday! Then a week after the horror of the event, I had another dream in which you asked me if I could forgive you and accept you as you were. I remember being unable to answer and then waking up.
Over the next several years these dreams, along with other things you had said, would haunt me. Remember how in a defeated state you would say I'd be better off without you? Remember how in another breath you'd say you were giving me a 99-year lease with an option for 99 more? When I thought of that statement, I cried out, "Whatever happened to the first 99?" These things and many more caused many questions and doubts. Why did you leave me? Why couldn't you come to me with your troubles? On it went, night after sleepless night.
Many friends went above and beyond the call of duty. Hilda took me in. Jeff and Jinny took Domino because he was so little and high-strung at the time. Julia fronted the cost of arrangements until things were settled, and Diane walked me through what to expect and every gut-wrenching stage since then. Countless people helped me clean up so I could come back in here 4 months later. None of us was sure if that would be the right move, but in retrospect, I believe it was. It's still central to work and church, and as you would know, the routes in Davis started at Mace, severely limiting options for living quarters. So you chose the best place after all. Besides, I knew I had to face down all the demons, and I would just be running if I moved. Marilyn has helped me with things such as shopping, getting back from choir, etc. You never met Robbin, Oscar and Eva, nor many others whom the Lord has sent.
The private moments were the most difficult. The questions kept tormenting me, but I knew the Lord wanted me to forgive and carry on. Not only that, but I needed to bring the good memories back and not allow them to be overshadowed by what happened and what I found out that day. As is His nature, God knew exactly what I needed, so even as I was crying out desperately for I knew not what, He was preparing people and orchestrating events. Almost a year to the day I lost you, I heard a song amid what was to me a dry and thirsty land of music that alternately reminded me, mocked me, and forced me to pretend that everything was OK. I'd been slowly becoming familiar with this group even while you were here, but I didn't give them much thought at the time. The band was Nickelback; the song was "Never Gonna Be Alone". As this simple yet powerful song penetrated my soul, I thought, The Lord has neither left me nor forsaken me. I knew I could go 1 more day. This started a 3-year quest to try to tell them what the song meant.
About 6 months after first hearing this and several other pertinent songs from the same band, I had an interesting encounter with a fellow I've since come to call my Catalyst. After yet another overtime shift (because I still couldn't stand to stay home), I barely missed the #13 by 1 light cycle, and he rode up on a bike wanting to know if #13 had come by. After telling him it would be an hour, he decided to wait with me and proceeded to tell me of a past similar to things I had discovered that fateful day. I felt a strange connection, as if I was supposed to do something with this information. Only 3 days later did I figure it out. The Lord's Spirit took me on a train of thought that led me to ask if I'd be able to forgive him if I somehow learned he'd had some connection with you. Or worse yet, what if he was you in another form? I don't think that's theologically correct, but it did cross my mind. That moment began my process of forgiveness, and I no longer felt the sting and the need to ask those questions.
But I wasn't out of the woods yet. Now that I'd wasted a good year and a half in a struggle of doubt and unforgiveness, I had to allow myself to truly miss you for all the good things you meant to me. Many things happened. We moved buildings at work, so the place you used to pick me up at work is no longer. Remember how you used to put on the live stream from the talk shows I liked to hear? You'd be surprised (or maybe not) to learn how things have marched on globally, and you would have been so proud to see me finally with equipment I could use. Each day, week, month, year got a little better. But I still seemed unable to let you go. Diane came to stay with me due to circumstances of her own, and one night it came to a head. Diane, Lia, and I found ourselves at the Vagabond in downtown Sacramento. Lia and I were going to the 2nd of 2 Nickelback shows which were part of my quest to tell the band what their song meant. The Holy Spirit prompted Diane and Lia to press me about what was still holding me back. That was it! All I could do was cry, "I never got to say goodbye!" Acknowledging this fact probably broke the hold, and in the months following, I had to admit many other things: that I was scared of the unknown, that I'd hidden behind you for so many things, that I knew I couldn't go back but wasn't sure how to go forward. With each admission the Lord helped me to release a little more, until finally this October 22nd I went to visit you and switched the ring to the other hand through a flood of agonizing tears as a symbol of taking as final a step as I knew how to do.
I still miss you, as surely as I sit here. But now instead of recalling that night in such stark detail, I'm more apt to remember funnier things: how you put the wrong movie back in a library container and cost Diane 75 bucks, how you looked all over for your glasses only to discover them on the brim of your hat, how you put the wrong spice (cinnamon) in the chicken and you were so afraid you ruined it. You didn't know that was your first foray into Moroccan cooking! Let's not forget your first Indian cooking experience when you dumped the entire packet of spice in! FIRE! I'm more likely to remember the romantic gestures: how you only had half an hour, but you guessed I might be at the campus library and you ran all the way from the newspaper downtown to bring me lunch, how you had at least 4 pet names for me, how you met me at the corner out here even though we both knew it wasn't necessary. And who can forget the gift of that now-famous giant tiger in my photos? Most of all, I know without a doubt that if the Lord should grant me another chance, you would approve.
Happy anniversary. I'll always love you. RRRRRRR!