You will always be my best friend, my wife, my angel.
My darling wife,
My beautiful, smart, kind, lovely wife... I cannot believe I survived this Christmas without you. It seemed like yesterday when we had gathered together around the tree with the kids and pets. I was busy with emails and getting things ready for the guests. I caught your eye just for a moment and you gave me that smile of yours. That warm smile with just a hint of mischief at the corner of your lips. One kid had dough on his hair and the other was figuring out her new toy. There you were. Trying to be calm, present, and on top of things, even as the merry chaos unfolded. There was laughter, screams, music, barks, dirty paws, happy kids, and snow falling outside the window. Life was perfect.
Little did I know that it would be the last Christmas as I knew it. The last happy gathering as a family. The last time I would feel content and complete as a man, a husband, and as a father. Here I am, a man and dad, broken and lost without you. I dreaded Christmas Day as I was afraid the growing void in my chest would drown me completely. I dreaded Christmas because I would look for you, not find you, and break into tears in front of the kids. I cry often, but when no one is around. We cry together, too, because like you said, the kids need to be okay with feeling their emotions. I try. I try so hard to be like the perfect mom that you were. You just knew what to do and that makes me see how little we men appreciate or value the little moments, insights, and wisdom women naturally embody as moms. I try hard to be strong and smart like you. But I think I fail often.
The other day little Amy came up to me, put her little hand on my shoulder and said, "Papa, it's okay to not be like ma. I like you just as papa." In her wisdom, I saw you. I knew it was you guiding her. I knew her heart is as huge and gentle and fiercely loving as yours. I knew that she will grow up to be like you, even if I miss to make the best decisions as a dad. She also said that she speaks to you every night and that sometimes she hears you sing when she sleeps. I wish I could hear from you. I wish I could talk to you like she does. I wish I knew you were here right now, listening to me. You know how poor I am with words. I now see what you meant. Most arguments we had were because I didn't communicate right. If only I knew how back then, my love. If only I could have ensured you never had a reason to get upset. I'm sorry.
Now that I will enter a new year without you, I need to know you are with me. At every step. I read a lot these days. I try hard to understand where you may have reached. But just like Amy said, I do believe you are right here, even at this moment, listening to me and smiling and looking at me like you used to. I miss you every day. I miss the way you start the day with a catlike stretch. I miss watching you sit up in bed, sleepy and content. I miss watching you get the kids ready for school and how you always gave our boy a pat and a peck just before he ran out the door. I miss how you turned comical for them and the funny faces you make. I miss those lame jokes or silly pranks that got you guffawing. I miss the group cuddle we all did together, including our dogs. They miss you as much as the kids do. But they seem to carry a wisdom that I don't. Riley has gotten calmer and gentler, especially with the kids. They sleep with the kids every night. It's their way to ensure our kids don't feel lonely. And sometimes I join them when it is unbearable to see your side of our bed empty.
But I am learning. I am learning to be strong for the kids because their mom was strong. Their mom was resilient, determined, and fearless. Someone who didn't let the troubles of the world steal her innocence and joy. I will try, my love, to be more like you. For them, for you, and for myself. Send me a sign. Any sign that these words have reached you. Let me know that things will be okay. Because behind the mask of courage I put on, I am scared. I fear I will not be strong enough. I worry if I will be a good enough dad without you to guide me. I fear our little one will ask for you and I wouldn't know the right words to say. Their nana is such a blessing for us. She is doing a great job and I see how much you take after her. I am grateful that we have a supportive family.
But to me, you will always be my best friend, my wife, my angel. I will miss you for the rest of my life, every single day. You are the best thing that happened to me. And I will do everything to make sure our family grows up to be strong, happy, kind, and giving just like you. You are precious, my love. Precious.
I love you.
Your husband who misses you every single day.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the views of the writer.