I see a Pastoral Counselor every other week as I try to navigate my way through this world of chaos called grief. The last time we met, I mentioned that I would give up everything I have, with the exception of my son, to have one more day with Brian. My counselor gave me homework. She asked me to think about what I would do if I had that one more day. I don't think she expected an epic but that's what she's getting. I wrote a letter to Brian telling him what I would want to do on that one more day . . . .
For One More Day . . . . .
As I learn to navigate this new life without you by my side, I find myself wishing, hoping, praying for just one more day with you. I would give up everything I have, with the exception of Kevin, for just one more day with you. Material items mean nothing to me. Life has become difficult without you. The sun doesn’t shine quite as brightly. The birds don’t sing quite as joyfully. There are shadows cast on the world which were not noticeable when you were by my side. Your presence made my life bright, joyful, and fun. I knew that I was loved. And, I knew that you would protect me and love me forever and always.
As I ponder that one more day and consider what we would do, I think about all of the places we wanted to go. Should we go to Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man? Should we rent a water-front hut in Cebu? Should we spend the day at our favorite Bed & Breakfast, Sayre Mansion, or the one at Glasbern Farms with the huge hot tub? Or, maybe go back to New Hope, the Poconos, or the beach. Perhaps I should choose a day during Musikfest or Celtic Classic? We could drink a few beers (okay maybe more than few) and listen to some good music. But then, Brian, I considered that these were either our dreams or the extraordinary moments in our life together. Sure, we had fun. Yes, we made some wonderful memories which I will always cherish. But, Brian, our life together was more about the ordinary moments. Spending time together. Enjoying the life we forged. Basking in our love for each other. So, I think I will choose an ordinary day in our life.
What would we do on that ordinary day? A day in the life of us? I could pick a Sunday because that is when we gathered with all of our children. But, I think I want to keep you to myself on this one more day. So, I’m picking a Thursday—but it will be your day off and I will take the day off, too.
I want the day to begin as most of our days did. The alarm clock blaring—I’m going to set it on alarm rather than radio so I can hear you calling it a nuclear blast and telling me to turn it off. I will hit the snooze button and you will roll over and wrap your arms around me—pulling me closer to you. I miss feeling you beside me every morning, Brian, and I promise this time I won’t be in a hurry to get up or to fall back to sleep. Instead I will cherish the way you feel beside me. The way you make me feel. And, we will make love—gentle and tender. Afterwards, I hope that you will play your guitar for me. I want to hear you play and sing Song For Ireland. I want to hear your sweet voice and the strum of your guitar. It has been silent for far too long.
When we finally rise, I will make a pot of coffee—and then you can joke about the fact that I carrying my cup around and set it down more than I drink it. When we are in the kitchen, I know that you will pull me toward you and give me one of your great big hugs. I promise I won’t pull away. I’ve learned that nothing is more important. This time I will let you be the first to pull away.
I imagine you heading out to the computer for a while. I envision you checking your e-mails, catching up on sports news, making necessary changes to your fantasy sports leagues. I will sit by your side and listen to you ramble about the comments from other players and whatever catches your attention. Of course, I will chatter away and distract you. I miss talking to you, Brian. I miss sharing all that I’m learning. I miss hearing your stories. I miss your affirmation of what I think and feel. I miss your validation. I just want to spend some time talking with you. Listening to you. Having you listen to me. This was such an important part of our relationship. It wasn’t something we had to work at. I don’t remember a moment when there wasn’t something I had to say to you. Or that you didn’t have something to say to me. While silence could be comfortable, we just loved talking to each other. I could spend this entire day sitting and talking with you, Brian, but there are a few more things I would like us to do together.
When you are done looking at your teams, maybe we will go to the gym. Or, since it will be a beautiful, sunny day, we both know that I will try to talk you into taking a nice long walk instead. Let’s pack up the car with your guitar, a blanket, chairs, some drinks and snacks and spend part of the day outside. First we will go to the Wyomissing creek. I want to walk through the pine groves with you. You always wanted to play your guitar there so this time you will. I want you to hold my hand. I want you to stop on the bridge, tell me it’s a kissing bridge, and then kiss me. We’ll look for woodpeckers and deer. We’ll talk some more. I will cherish this time together.
After our walk, we’ll drive to Gring’s Mill. Oh, I know we could have gone there for our walk . . . but I wanted one more moment in those pine groves. When we get to Gring’s Mill, we will walk down the hill, set up a chair for you and spread out the blanket for me. I’ll get out my books and you will pick up your guitar. But this time, Brian, I’m not really going to read those books. Rather, I’m going to listen to you. And, we will both look for falcons, hawks, and herons. Maybe we will see that monster turtle I told you about—the one you never really believed that I saw. Then, I will glance at you only to find that you are looking at me. I’ll shake my head and say, “why are you looking at me?” and you will say that you can’t believe how lucky you are to be with me. I’ll smile because I know that it is me who is the lucky one.
After a while, we will pack up our stuff and head up the hill—you will complain and ask why there always has to be a hill. Although I know that we could spend the rest of the day together in this beautiful setting, there are a few more things I want us to do. A few more memories I want to relive. I want to stop at West Lawn Beverage. I want to watch you checking out the specials. I want to hear you trading stories with the owner. And, I want to see the excitement on your face when you discover a new beer that we just have to try—because it’s a really good price. Brian, it was so easy to make you happy. And, that is why we are having an ordinary day—because you always understood that life was about people, feelings, and experiences—not material items.
We will stop at the grocery store. I want to watch you meander around the deli and meat section. I want to see you get excited about buying items to make the perfect sandwich when we get home. I’m guessing you will suggest Reubens—corned beef for you and turkey for me. Plus, you will buy coleslaw because that is your favorite. But, you’ll pick out pasta salad for me—the one with spinach and feta cheese. And, Brian, I know you will have to find the perfect rye bread—because that’s the most important building block for your perfect sandwich. When we get home, we’ll put some of those beers on ice while you make our perfect sandwiches. Please, don’t let them in the toaster oven too long—please don’t burn the bread. When the sandwiches are ready, we will take them outside. I want to sit in the backyard with you. I want to have more conversation. I want to hear your thoughts. I want to talk about our dreams. Just one more time I want to pretend we are going to win the lottery. I want to dream about what we will do. I want to hear how I will come home to find my dream car—a silver convertible Mustang—in the driveway. Though we always knew it wasn’t really going to happen, it was so much fun to dream. We dreamed great dreams together.
I remember now how you even shared your daydreams with me. You would call me on my cell phone anytime of the day and start telling me what you were daydreaming about. It always made me smile—because I was always included, it was always about us. Oh, Brian I love you so much. I miss those phone calls. I miss your texts. So, on this one day that we get to share, please send me my text messages. Please tell me that I am beautiful. That you will love me for always and forever. Please write WAMHAS. And, ask me to always love you in return. For, Brian, that is a given. I don’t think you ever really understood how much I love you. I don’t know if you realize that you hold a piece of my heart—that you still have half of my soul. And, that you always will. There will always be jagged little edges. My heart can never be put back together the same way it was when you were here with me. You complete me, Brian. And, I complete you.
Well, I guess maybe you are wondering why I picked a Thursday for our one more day with you. Or, perhaps you already know. As evening nears, we will go to the Ugly Oyster, our favorite restaurant. Tonight is Celtic music night. There are other restaurants I could have picked but I think this was the restaurant that meant the most to us. You will order Guinness and I will order Boddingtons. Of course, we will order the smoked cheese (remember how you tried to recreate this at home but it didn’t work?). Simple pleasures. Simple joys that we shared together. Nobody else will understand—but we will. I don’t really care what else we order. We can share the tuna because that will bring back good memories. Remember when it was blackened and it was sooooo spicy? We’ll chat with our favorite waitress. We’ll listen to the music. I will tell you that you should have brought your guitar, bouzouki, or mandolin. You will talk with the musicians but you will tell me that you are not good enough to play with them. But, Brian, I want you to know that you are good enough. You have such a passion for playing music. I know you can’t read music but it doesn’t matter because you have an ear for hearing what note should come next. And, you have a wonderful voice. But, I understand, that you do things in your own timeframe—when you feel comfortable enough. And I respect that about you. In fact, I love that about you.
The day is nearing an end. We will take our tootsie pops from the Oyster and get ready to leave. If there isn’t a chocolate tootsie pop in the basket, you will ask for one because you know that it is my favorite. You will be happy with raspberry, orange, cherry or grape—because you are easy to please. How about we take a quick drive up to the Pagoda—it’s been a long time since we stopped there. Viewing the city from above. Taking time to enjoy our love. Holding hands, kissing . . . . And then we will go home. I promise no TV tonight Brian—although if we were going to watch TV I would give you the remote control. And, you know how hard that would be for me. Instead we will go to bed. You will pick up your guitar and play some songs for me. We’ll make love one more time. And you will doze off. I’m going to stay awake. For you see, Brian, the reason I never wanted to go to sleep is because I always thought I would miss something. For me, sleep seemed to be a waste of time. I’m sure you wonder why I sleep so much now. It’s because there is nothing left for me to miss. When you died, you took my joy, my sunshine, my life. I’m learning, very slowly, how to live again. But nothing is the same without you.
As you sleep, I will watch you. I know that I asked for only one day. But it wasn’t good enough. There are so many other things I want to do with you. I want to play a game of Scrabble. I want to see a movie at Goggle Works. I want to watch you cook on the grill. I want to go to Church together. I want to spend time with our friends. I want to hear all of your stories again and again and again. I want to kid you about your New York accent. I want to give you the “jerk” look just so you can tell me about it. I want to laugh at your jokes. I want you to be there when I come home from class so you can help me absorb the material and the discussion. I want to read my sermons to you. I want to go to concerts together. I want us to play with your grandchildren together. I want to share our accomplishments. I want to live out our dreams. I want to grow old with you by my side. So, Brian, you probably know what I am going to do next. As you drift away from me on our one more day together, I am going to beg. I am going to scream. I am going to plead with God. I’m going to pray. I am going to ask for just one more day with you. But if my request is denied, I am going to ask you to take me with you when you go away again. Because, Brian, in the depth of my heart and soul, I know that a huge mistake was made. For, my love, we are not supposed to be apart.
Peace, love, and blessings forever and always,