Written 4/16/23.

Hi Babe,
It’s been beautiful outside. This whole week. Maybe a bit of rain, the past couple of days, but beautiful none-the-less. Last year, you left before anything had woken up. It wasn’t beautiful like this, yet. I remember wondering if you really had meant to miss all of the beauty that came with spring. Last year, it was jarring, really, considering the stark juxtaposition of that space between my ears compared to the space around me, filled with blooming tulips and birds chirping. I am starting to see more cardinals, again (it’s that time of year), and I count them as little “hellos” from you, regardless of what they actually are or are not.

Vicky is here. She’s sleeping on the couch- I feel bad because I’m an early bird and she works overnights at the ER. I got up at 6:30 am, this morning, and woke her up for a minute when I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, so I am hiding in the bedroom until it is a more reasonable time to wake up and taking this time to write to you. It was so thoughtful of her to offer to come down for the weekend. It has made the last few days so much easier.

This week has been such a mix of emotions…mostly sad but friends made it easier to get through. Your parents made it easier to get through.

Dalia and I saw the dnd movie on Wednesday night. It was very funny; didn’t take itself too seriously. I enjoyed it but I couldn’t help but wonder what your reactions would be if we were seeing it, together. For you to be there to ask questions about significance, and if you liked how they represented this game that was so very much a part of you. I had regret over missing out on something that wasn’t even possible when you left, but I suppose I do that when I mourn over what our future could have been. The many timelines we could have chosen from. Watching our little family change and grow.

I was waiting for the gelatinous cube the entire movie, thinking back on when we watched Onward and you pointed it out, explaining that it was sort of a running joke in dnd to be killed by one. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. The gelatinous cube made it’s grand entrance, and almost killed all of the main characters. It was so satisfying to see its scene- I was so excited that I already knew it was coming because of some bit of knowledge you had given me years prior.

There were some triggers in it- some long falls from high places, heavy impacts, and someone dying at the end (don’t worry, they were brought back). I held on until the almost dying part. I started crying in the theater and Dalia asked me if I wanted to step out, but I think I got it all wrangled in relatively quickly.

Wednesday night was the night before you died, and driving home after the movie, I think my subconscious started to remember that. I was alone for the rest of the night, and it was really pretty awful. I felt like it was too late to call anyone, but the grief felt very much like it did right when you left, and I was doing that thing where I avoided going to bed because I didn’t want nightmares.

The next morning wasn’t as terrible, tbh. And then Desiree and I had a full day planned, which really helped with not focusing on what was coming. There really was a countdown in my head to 10:40 pm when you jumped, that night, and as it drew closer I became more and more panicked. By the time I got on a video call with the dnd group, I was afraid to transition to anything else for the rest of the night. As if by not making any sudden movements, I could keep you from leaving again.

Desiree and I went to get ice cream at a place that had been on my list for over a year but I hadn’t gone to, yet. It’s in Mt. Pleasant, and when we were walking up to the storefront, who do you think we saw? It was Kristen, babe. We saw Kristen. I couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t just let her and Fred just walk away after acknowledging us. I had to address it, the timing. We haven’t run into each other all year, I said. It’s your anniversary, I said. And since I continually ask you for signs with the hope that some day I will actually believe you sent them when they come- I took it as a sign. Honestly, I still do. Usually, when I see things that could be taken as signs, I tear myself away from believing it pretty quickly after it happens. This one is lingering though.

So I bit the bullet and told her I had been thinking of her. Told her I didn’t have the energy to talk about what happened, but that I was starting to feel like I might have the energy soon.

She said she had to think about it.