To You on the One Year

Good morning, my love. It's been one year since you earned your wings. I know so little of your last few hours. I know you woke up early to do yard work. I know you took off your engagement ring and was listening to you Pandora worship music because at the hospital, your ring was not among your things and your phone was in your pocket, I heard it buzzing when your mom and I sat beside your still body. I know you were doing yard work when God tapped you on the shoulder and suddenly you were home with Jesus. And the whole time I had no idea. I was at my place, remembering the wedding details we had gone over the past evening. I was working on our wedding website and the guest list, looking up places we could stay for the wedding night, and looking at cake toppers. I never got to show you the Han Solo and Princess Leia I was thinking about; it would have been fun, a Celtic wedding with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. You would have liked that, I know. You would have laughed and said "why not?" I think that's why I chose that famous "I love you. I know" for your memory box. I wish I had texted you that morning, I was waiting for you text like you usually did, saying you were done with the yard work, give an update on when and how you were getting your car back from the shop, our plans for shopping for fireworks and the 4th of July party the next day. But I wish I had that morning, I had thought about it but didn't want to interrupt your yard work. What if I had, would you have gotten it or were you already gone?

I'm standing in the usher room of our church, the room we spent so much time in before and after we got together. I perform the duties of a lead usher, remembering you were the one who taught me everything I know. Did I ever tell you that you were a big part of me saying yes when asked if I wanted to take on that task in early 2013? I would have done it anyway, but by then my crush on you (you, a man who had been my friend for a few years) was taking hold and I knew working along side you would cause me to know you better. And as it happened, that's what caused your feelings for me to take root and bloom into the incredible and God anointed love it became. I wonder stil, after we followed God's path toward each other, that it could come to a halt after 19 months and 3 days. I still look up and hope you see you walking the halls of the church you so loved. I spoke with our ushers today about what their love, support and prayers have meant to me over the past year. Many wondered why I showed up to church last year 2 days after loosing you. But I did it to be with that family that we served with together and it's the same reason I went today. I told second service that I figured out why I could never say that you died. That it wasn't because it hurt too much to say it as I first thought, but because you live. Because of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." I saw that written on a curb as I was heading to church today and I know it was a way for me to remember that you are alive and you are safe. You're healthier than I have ever been, you're eternally happy, the halls of heaven echo with the sound of that infectious laugh. I wish I could hear it.

I sat today with our families, yours and mine, as we celebrated the 4th. One day early, but since the 4th is a Monday, we thought it best. We all overtook your grandparents home; parents, siblings, cousins, multiple sets of in laws, kids, and friends as dear as family. Playing games, swimming, eating, chatting or having smores on the firepit I brought. I hadn't used it for a over a year, not since we last used it together. It seemed like a good time to bring it out and it was a hit. I watched our 2 year old nephew as he swam around in his floaties. He looks like you, much more than his older brother will. His profile, his smile, so much like yours. It's so sad he'll never remember you, you loved those boys, I remember when he was born and you couldn't wait to hold him. Now when he hears the name Chase he'll think of Paw Patrol. We had the usual fireworks show set to intense movie playing in the background. I know now that any other firework show I might see will be dull without movie scores playing. I hope you enjoyed the show, you loved helping with the fireworks and watching them.

I lay here in my bed now, curled underneath your comforter, just like I was a year ago. Different house, different bed since your family insisted I stay over, that I not be alone in my shocked grief and in pain from being without you. I of course chose to stay in your room, though I didn't sleep. I lay on your bed, under this same comforter that your mom later let me keep, and cried. I couldn't shut off my head or the breaking of my heart. So I stayed awake all night and watched the sun dawn, my first of many without you. 366 days later (thanks leap year for adding another day to our pain) and my head is buzzing like it did last year. Expect last year I wondered things such as did you know something was wrong, did you feel pain, were you scared? I fretted that my best friend was alone and scared in those final seconds of his precious life on earth. Now I know you went quickly, but as to if you knew something was off, I guess you'll have to tell me when I see you again. The things I wonder now, a year later, are things I find myself thinking about a lot. Mostly, what would we be doing if he was still here? We'd be married now, a few weeks shy of 4 months. So I wouldn't be alone like I am now. We would have come home together after a long day. Rather than curling into the pillow I made of your shirt, I'd be curling into you, feeling your warmth and hearing you breathe. I still remember the way that felt, to cuddle up together.

It's 12:00 am on July the 4th. I did it, I made it through the toughest year of my life. A year that should have been so different. We had such plans, all left shattered like my heart. We never got to realize our number one wish, the one thing that from the very start that we wanted. I look back on texts from you, wishing for 1 thing. To never have to say goodbye, but say goodnight. The countless times we told each other that we couldn't wait till you never had to leave in the evenings. That you could come home to me every night and stay. You said that home is where you heart is and because I held your heart, with me, you were home. Well, it works both ways, expect now I can't get to where you are, not right away. You held my heart, too, and you took a huge portion with you, leaving just enough with me to keep this shattered heart beating. I'm homesick.

Now it's over, there are no more big anniversaries. I've gone through family dinners, all the holidays, weddings, memorials, game nights, movies nights, Disneyland, our anniversary (yearly and monthly), what should have been our wedding day, weekends alone, work days without your texts to get me through, big events at our church we used to serve at together, waking up every single morning wishing you were lying beside me and going to be sleep every night knowing the next day will be the same. I do treasure the knowledge you are watching over me and are with me when I need you, that you said that you'd never leave me and you're keeping your promise, that you still love me so much to your presence and power of that love is so strong that at times it takes my breath away or my mom can feel you like an actual manifestation that she could almost really touch you. But that doesn't stop the pain of you not being here. I'm tired of doing things without you, I want you back. I want my heaven to be a way to go back and do it again, pick up from July 3rd 2015, expect you're here with us. From the big moments like our wedding to the small every day things like making dinner. I don't know what to think now, or how to feel, now that I'm on the other side of yesterday. What now? So many questions I have, some I have to work out myself, others I'll never know the answer. 

I should go, my darling. I love you.

I started journaling my fiancé a few days after he passed, I just couldn't imagine not talking to my best friend again. I think of it as an email sent up to him in heaven. This is dated 7/3/16

About the Author
My name is Michelle and for 19 months I was loved by my best friend, soul mate, inspiration, snuggle buddy, fellow geek and the best man I ever knew. My amazing fiancé was born with a heart condition, but after open heart surgery at age 20, he was in good shape, even took on running. So it was a horrifying shock when he passed away July 3rd 2015 of an enlarged heart at 25. Chase and I served together as ushers at our church and fell deeply in love. We had the kind of love even people in relationships envied. It seems God worked it out for our relationship to be so strong and so true because we would only have a short amount of time. We were one and still are. Imagine my sense of pride and awe when it hit me that I was literally made for him, he had never even had a crush on another girl before. Chase was everything I prayed for and so much more...a true angel on earth. Kind, respectful, duty bound, fun, always willing to help anyone, a steadfast Royal Ranger Commander, greeted everyone with a smile and gave the best hugs. Everyone loved him and I am still in awe that he chose me. Since he's been gone, I find it hard to breathe and mourn the loss of our future together, a future we were having so much fun planning. I still feel him near me at times and while I cry every single day, some harder than most, I do remember that I will see him again, and this time it will be for eternity. In fact, his is the first face I want to see and I know what the first words out of his mouth should be; what he would say most often when he saw me and his face would light up with joy and love: "Hi, sweetie!"
I'm Grieving, Now What?