Hi Babe,

I wish you were here. I wish you were here so badly. You know, Blake and Tania are having a baby- our family’s first baby of the next generation. Blake Charles Van Thof III, after our dad. I’ve been calling him little Blake. I’m going to be an aunt. You were supposed to be his uncle.
When they told me I felt this familial bond feeling I had never felt before. It was unreal. I mean, it could have had to do with the fact that I didn’t sleep at all the night before and then drove over five hours to get to New York in time for Tania’s birthday, but regardless, it was meaningful.
And shortly after than feeling, a flood of other feelings, all about you, about us. The familiar sinking feeling of being reminded you are not here for landmark events in what should have been our life together. Sadness, somberness, regret, they all flowed freely. If you had made it 10 more months, you would have had a nephew. Honestly babe, for maybe the second time since you died, I had the thought that after a lifetime of not wanting children, maybe I do want to be a mom, someday. Great timing, right? You’re gone, my life’s a mess, I can barely take care of Hugo properly…and then I think of how our life would have been if I had felt more like this when you were alive. If we had had a baby. Would you still be here? Would you still have left but I would feel more connected to you now? That’s not a good reason to have a kid, but as a side-effect, maybe it would have been nice.

Speaking of our real or imaginary children- Hugo is laying across my legs, right now.
He still remembers you. Hugo does. I’m always wondering how this has all worked for him. How much he understands about you leaving one day and never coming back. Sometimes I wonder if he still misses you. He hasn’t looked for you in a few months, but I’ll play videos where you’re speaking and he perks up, he looks around, he might wag his tail a bit.
I never want him to forget you… I never want anyone to forget you. If anything, I want new people to get to know you.

Work is going better, but only because I accepted some hard truths and maybe for the first time in my life compartmentalized my feelings successfully. Makes me feel pretty empty, like I am acting all day at the office and can’t be myself until I get home. In a way, it’s a nice vacation from the feelings, but it’s not really a switch I can flip like I thought it would be, and I find it hard to take the feelings out of the box I put them in when I have the opportunity to face them properly, outside of work.
The other side of that is I’m also afraid not feeling the grief constantly like I’m used to. In the beginning I welcomed any respite from the grief, but now I worry that those moments mean I’m accepting that you’re gone, which I still don’t want to do.

We went to the Sovereign for your birthday, last week. They stopped selling your favorite beer- I guess the distributor isn’t global anymore or something. Taking a trip to Belgium to the monastery they make it at is feeling like more and more of a real consideration.
I didn’t put candles on your cake, it felt wrong to think we would be blowing them out because you weren’t there to.

They had a meeting last week to pass the emergency legislation for your barrier. It passed unanimously. Now they’ll start the design…I’m going to ask DDOT about putting your name on it. I really hope they let me dedicate this barrier and the lives it will save to you. I want people to know you and the kind of good you were capable of long after I’m gone.

I got your computer working again, finally. It’s so much harder now than it used to be to look through everything of yours…but I want to go through all of your pictures and organize them better in one place.

Every day I want to be living a different life. There is still a lot here for me in DC but all I want to do is move to Africa or The Netherlands or NH or even back to Oregon (never thought I would ever say that). All in the hopes of either escaping the realities of losing you or finding you again.

Fuck babe, I miss you so fucking much.

I was just looking at the last birthday card you gave me, for my 30th. Your message is so poignant now it’s difficult to read- that it was hard to show but I was the most important thing in your life, and that you hoped you would be here to celebrate many more birthdays to come…were you thinking about the possibility that you wouldn’t be here when you wrote that? Were you thinking about killing yourself even then?

I hate that you got the last word in the notes you left, because none of the things you used to justify your leaving was true.

I have to go to bed, I’m starting to get flashbacks and this is getting too upsetting to think about, especially this late.

I really love you.