December 25, 2016

A Letter To Daron

My Dearest Daron,

It doesn't seem possible that we are approaching five months since you left this earth & entered Heaven's Glory. How that can be true? I still feel like it was just yesterday I was at your bedside saying goodbye to you on earth. Yet there are days when it feels like it has been much longer then five months. There are days where it feels like it has been years since you passed. So much has happened in these past five months. I know that you have been watching us from above, but I still want to tell you about them.

Can you believe our son started 7th grade this fall?!? I can't believe it myself. Plus, he turned 13 this year! Where has the time gone? You would be proud of the young man he is growing up to be. Yes, he has his moments & he drives me crazy, but every teenage boy does that....right? You would be proud of him for realizing his mistakes & taking responsibility for them - it may take him awhile, but he does. Were you at his party on the 17th? He had so much fun with his friends from church. I am proud of him for wanting to surround himself with friends from the youth group. He reminds me of you so much, Daron. The way he talks, the way he acts, the things he says, the ways he looks at me, his physical build.....all remind me of you. I joke with him that he has your frozen feet & your stomach/appetite. I hope that he will tell me if that bothers him. Right now I think it makes him proud to be compared to you. He can see it himself. Thank you for our son & for being his father for 12.5 years.

Did you see that I finally made it to Mackinac Island with Taylor for my birthday? I know that it was something you & I talked about doing for so many years. I carried you with me in my heart & I hope you were there with me. I can't wait to go back sometime soon. It is such a beautiful place & there is so much more I want to see. I just will not go over Labor Day weekend again - that was crazy. Thank you for encouraging me to be adventurous.....I will take that with me.

I can hardly believe that we would have celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary & our 15th anniversary of being a couple this year. I know that I didn't get a chance to do anything special or take time to remember the days.....but I did think of you both days. I thought back to how we were just kids (for the most part) when we got married. I thought back to all of the love that we have had for each other.....the love that I still carry in my heart for you. Yes, those days were filled with tears over the thoughts of what could have been.....but I am so thankful for the memories that we made over the years together. Thank you for finding me online & talking to me. Thank you for marrying me all those years ago. Thank you for allowing me to be your helper through those years. While I regret the ways that I acted during our time together, I don't regret a second of the time we had. I will always treasure our years together.

Did you see the tattoo that I got in your honor? Took me long enough, right? :-D Honestly, I don't know why it took me so long to get one.....oh wait, yes I do. I couldn't decide on a meaningful design. Thank you for helping me choose one. I know that you were leading me during that process. Every time I look at my tattoo & see "I Love You" in your handwriting......words can't describe the way that I feel.

The holidays were tough on me, my love. I so desperately wanted you there to share those days with Taylor & I. I wanted you back for one more Thanksgiving & Christmas. Please know that I will never wish you back into the pain & suffering you went through. That would not be fair to you. I'm not ready to start new traditions for the holidays. Starting new traditions is painful right now. As odd as it sounds, I missed driving to Battle Creek to see you for Thanksgiving & then again to open presents with for Christmas. I never thought I would miss the hour drive (both ways) to see you.....but I do. I did take some of the fudge I purchased on Mackinac Island to the VA staff in your honor. That at least allowed me to make the drive again this year. Maybe I will turn that into a new tradition - visit our VA family between Thanksgiving & Christmas......maybe bring them some fudge every year as well. Speaking of that......Do you like the wreath your parents, my dad, Taylor & I placed on your headstone? I hope it lasts until February - that's why it isn't a true Christmas wreath. Plus, blue was always your favorite color.

Daron, as I get ready to cross into a new year without you here, I am torn with my emotions. I am so grateful that God fulfilled His perfect plan in your life. I am so thankful that you are not suffering anymore in your earthly body. I am so thankful that you got to celebrate Christmas in Heaven with God, Jesus, our family members & everyone who has gone before us. While I am thankful for that, I am sad that you aren't here any longer. I am sad that a new year will start without you. Words can't describe what I am feeling as I head towards a new year. Just thinking about it brings tears that I can't control. While a new year will bring new adventures, I will be thinking of you as each one comes into my journey. As I enter 2017, you will be in my heart. I will carry you with me every day, sweetheart.

I know that you have watched me cry more now then when you were on earth. You know how much I am struggling with all of this. You know the pain I try so hard to hide from others. You know the sorrow I cover with a fake smile. Please know that I will get stronger. I will keep the promise I made to you before you passed. I will turn that fake smile into a real one again.....with time & God's strength. I will continue to take each memory of you as they come to mind & be thankful for them through the tears. I will never stop loving you, Daron. Thinking of you gives me strength to get through the tears. I desperately hold onto the knowledge that you are waiting for me in Heaven & we will be reunited one day for all eternity. Please give my Grandpa Orr & my Uncle Jim a great big hug for me. I love you with all that this earthly body will allow, my dearest.

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