Monday, July 14, 2014

Eight Years Later

An open letter to my wife who died July 14, 2006

Eight years ago today you passed away; you said you weren't feeling well and I promised we'd go to the doctor that morning to see what was troubling you. A few hours later, I found you gone.

It's been eight years now and I wanted to give you an update on how things have been. This won't be some maudlin “woe is me" thing. I'm passed that. I don't know if you've seen that; I don't know how that Heaven stuff works. Maybe you are watching, maybe not.

The point is, I've soldiered on and you'd be surprised at some of the things I've done. Survival happens when you have to. Since you've been gone I refinanced our house. I know, me? Shocking. I couldn't figure out how to roll coins in those wrappers when you were alive and then I bluff a finance company into helping me after our friends at Wells Fargo raised the mortgage three months after you died.

I bought a new car and it's paid for. Again with the shock, I know!

I also filed bankruptcy the spring of 2009. Those medical bills were too much and, you know, I work for a newspaper, and, because of its economic instability, it's the dumbest financial planning move I could have done. But I came out of that last month and things are picking up.

And, get this: A bad storm ripped up the roof on the house last month and I got an insurance adjuster to tell me I need a new roof. These things are simple for most people, but I didn't realize I relied so much on you back then. The roofer should be here soon.

I've lost over 100 pounds in the last year, too. The depression I felt after what happened tore me up and I ate and drank pretty heavily. I used to pour energy drinks down my gullet and I had a doctor tell me I wouldn't make it to 50 if I kept that up. On the eve of my 50th birthday, I guzzled energy drinks so I could stay up past midnight to prove him wrong.

But then I met someone at work who has helped me. We walk around a lake and park every Saturday, logging 3-6 miles. That helps. I don't look like the Shoney's Big Boy anymore, and for the first time in a while, I actually care that I'm alive.

So, I've done okay when I had to.

I've gone out with a few girls, but those have crashed. Once, I took a girl to dinner and I knew it was a disaster before the main course was served. I was waving for the check with one hand and a white flag of surrender with the other.

Some have since asked me if I knew your kidneys would begin failing six months after we got married would I still have gotten married? The last three years of your life were tough, but I am glad we went through that together. I learned more about myself in those three years than any other time of my life. I learned what love really was and no matter how much I cut myself down about everything else, I know I was one of the best husbands there was. I hold on to that.

I still read a lot. I still try writing. I still play the APBA games. A lot. I roll games almost every day. The game helps; it still provides a great escape.

So, now, eight years later, I wanted to give you an update. I've not done anything stupid lately. That winter after you were gone, I actually sat on my bed with a loaded .38 pointed at my head. It got that bad then. But I persevered. And now it's better. That won't happen again. I still miss you. I will always miss you more than anything.

But I'm doing okay.

Eight years. It seems like such a long time, but then it also seems like it was just the other day. I can't get my mind around that passage of time very well. The counsellors always indicate getting past certain landmark years is the measure of success. The first year, the fifth year, the seventh year.

I'm at eight now. And next year it will be nine and in 2017, it'll be 10. I take it each year at a time.

I just wanted you to know how things were going and tell you not to worry. I think I'll be okay.


  1. So sorry for your loss but glad to see that you are healing and moving ahead with your life.

  2. Ken, you are an incredibly gifted writer; because you don't shy away from writing about moving things. I really look forward to each of your blogs; because it also causes me to be even more introspective than I usually am.

    I'll echo the earlier comment -- God bless you!

  3. Very moving. Very beautiful.

  4. What they all said. ^^^ -- Beautifully written.

  5. Wow, thanks for the comments, everybody.

  6. I know you will be ok Brooks!