A letter to my husband

Dear Joshua,

Hello sweetheart. Do you know what today is? Today marks the one year anniversary of what was (at the time) one of the hardest days of my life. One year ago today we reviewed the packing list, went over all of the bills I would be keeping an eye on, loaded up my car and drove you out to a rehabilitation center. I was so afraid to leave you there all by yourself. But I tried to be strong for you. Could you see the fear in my eyes, hear the worry in my voice? I didn’t cry until they brought me back to say our goodbyes! Were you surprised by that? It turns out I had nothing to worry about because you were in the best place you could possibly be, but I will never forget how I felt that day. 

Did you know how proud I was that you made the decision to get help? I have always been and will always be so proud of you, Joshua. That took an unbelievable amount of courage. Today was supposed to mark one year of sobriety for you. I will never get to see that day. 

Do you know what tomorrow is J? Tomorrow marks 3 months since you left us here. I can’t believe that I will have survived 1/4 of a year without my partner in crime. I know things weren’t looking great for us when you died, but we would have “soldiered” through. Remember that no matter how stubborn you were being, you married an equally stubborn girl. I wasn’t going anywhere. I had your back – and I continue to fight for you. I hope you can see that. 

My love, do you know how much I love you? Even when I wasn’t the best at showing it, did you know that I would move mountains if it meant your path would be clear? You used to comment on how I didn’t look happy anymore – do you see now that my unhappiness was because I was failing to make you happy?

Can you feel things out there in the universe? Can you feel my broken heart? Can you see how much I struggle to even get out of bed some days and how much I feel like a fraud when I’m pretending to be happy? Where are you? Why can’t I feel you around me?

Do you still love me? Will you be standing there waiting for me when it’s my turn to leave this world? Underneath that tough exterior, you were always such a kind and caring person. You believed everyone deserved to be treated fairly and you stood up for people who were being treated poorly…even when you didn’t really like them! Why didn’t anybody stand up for you?

Can you see what I’m trying to do, my dear? Can you see that I’m trying to bring awareness to so many things because of your story and because of mine? Am I doing the right things? I know this is not the way that you would have gone about it – you were always more of a full steam ahead type of person. I just want people to know they are not alone. My heart hurts remembering how alone you felt. How alone I sometimes felt and still feel. I’m trusting you to guide me in the direction that will be most beneficial. You were always so good at that. 

I miss you Joshua. I miss your laugh, your snickering. I miss holding your hand on long car rides. I miss your hugs – even the ones you were reluctant to give. I miss your sweet (read: embarrassing) dance moves and your obsession with bubble baths. I miss being chased around the house by you. I miss you getting worried when I forget to let you know I got to work okay. I miss going to the movies with you even though some of them were really bad. I miss knowing your order at pretty much every restaurant, knowing your seat preferences at the movie theater (aisle) and public place (facing the entrance). I miss you laying on the couch and plopping your feet on my lap then wiggling your toes around until I gave in and rubbed them. I miss you falling asleep with your head in my lap. I miss waking up in the middle of the night to you asking me to cuddle you. 

I miss absolutely everything about you – even the disgusting and annoying things. All of those things are what made you who you are. I wish I could see how beautiful your soul looks now – it was breathtaking here on Earth even bogged down by so many troubles. I can only imagine how vibrant and engaging you are on the other side. I am certain that when I get there, my light will be dim in comparison. 

You were always exactly what I needed. Even when things were strained between us, your presence made me feel okay. The touch of your skin was instantly calming. I really want that back. 

Do you know what today is, J? Today is another day I am left to fight this battle alone. Today was supposed to be a day of celebration. You know what, maybe it still will be. Today I choose to celebrate your decision and the courage/bravery it took for you to admit that there was a problem and that you needed help to get better. 

Thank you for showing me the courage in vulnerability. And oh so many other things. 

I love you forever. 50/50. Always. 

❤️❤️❤️

Emily

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