I drove up to your house on a cold winter evening. I thought twice before I knocked on the door because I'd already screwed everything up and I hadn't even met you yet.
My references were bad. I was late. It wasn't a great way to introduce myself.
But, I was broke and poverty beat out insecurity.
Your house was beautiful. A mansion.
I knocked on the door, an unlikely Jane Eyre.
I'll never forget that door opening. I'll never forget that door and your face. You were wearing a coat. It was dark inside your house, but your eyes... they were so shiny. So bright. And your smile.... it welcomed me. And for the first time in a long time I felt I was home.
It was a quick interview. I was honest with you and you were honest with me. You said we'd be a good fit. You entrusted me with your home and your children when no one in my life trusted me with anything.
And for the first part of our journey I did take care of them, didn't I? They loved me and I loved them. Your three babies. School aged but still needy.
And that day you told me you were sick... that there was a lump. And then I took care of you. We bought scarves and went to Chemo and learned how to cook kale. You shared your plan. You would live to see them all grown up.
You beat it back for sixteen years and lived to see them become themselves. I was long gone by then, immersed in my own life. That life you taught me how to live. I was the mother of three babies... and I knew how to take care of them, because I watched you. I cook some mean Kale.
The words here don't do justice to you or yours or what you meant to any of us. You live on the inside.
You are all the words.
There wouldn't be any words without you.
I hope this year in Heaven has been a good one.
I love you very much.
P.S. I finished the book. And wrote two more. I wrote and I wrote and you came out through my fingers. My finishing and you leaving couldn't have been a coincidence. One last push in the right direction? Thank you and thank you and thank you again. Forever thanking you.