Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dear Rachael

Dear Rachael,

I lost you just three days ago. The pain remains as intense as it was that first day. Right now it feels as though there will never be any relief from this pain. The hole in my life your absence has created is immense, bigger than I ever could have imagined. That aching emptiness consumes me. Only now do I fully understand how completely my whole world revolved around you. At the service for you yesterday, I stood before our loved ones and told them of the difference you made in my life. Many have talked of your bigger than life personality. Of your incredible vibrancy and boundless enthusiasm for life. So I told them about how my personality is so very different from yours. I told them of the brightness, color, enthusiasm, and energy you brought into my life, where before my existence was sorely lacking in those qualities. I said that you changed my life. You changed me. You made me a better person, albeit one still with many shortcomings. I also told our families that I would never forget you, and that I would always try to honor your memory.

Rachael, regarding that last sentiment, I will try my very best, within my pitiful limitations, to do just that. You were an idealist and I admire that about you. It’s not overstating it one little bit to say that you had a higher level of ideals than anyone I’ve ever met. There’s no way I could ever quite live up to the standard you set, but I do promise you that I will try. Some days, maybe many days, I will fall short. But on every succeeding day I will try to do better. I will try to do better, and I will strive to do things that would make you proud. These things will be done in your name, and in each case I will make it known that it could not have happened without you. You will continue to make a difference through me, just as you continue now to make a difference in all the wonderful and treasured memories everyone who loves you will carry with them for the rest of their days.

Rachael, I am so sorry you couldn’t have stayed with me here longer. I wish I could have stopped what happened to you somehow. I feel that I have failed you. People tell me this is not the truth, that I did everything I possibly could for you. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, I don’t know. I always told myself to try harder, to do better, to do right by you. And I did try. But it still couldn’t keep you here, and so, yes, I feel like I failed. That may make no logical sense. I am not God. I had no power over the disease that took you. On some level, I recognize this. But that feeling of coming up short persists regardless.

Rachael, the memory of what you endured, especially in your last months and weeks, is so very painful, so much so that I am not sure I can withstand it. No one should have to go through what you went through, but it seems particularly unfair that it could happen to someone as loving, sweet, generous, and kind as you. I can’t think of how the disease ravaged your poor little body without wanting to cry. The memory of the constant agony you were in causes me physical pain. I remember how you would cry out to me even in your sleep, and that also hurts. You counted on me to protect you and help you feel better in various ways, but in the end none of it worked anymore. It hurt so much to hear those cries of my name and know there was nothing I could do. I think of how you would say “owie” like a little girl when you were having excruciating pain, and that also makes me want to cry. I think it always will. You suffered so many horrible indignities, and the memory of those things makes me feel a deep anger in addition to the emotional misery. It is fundamentally WRONG that you had to endure those things. It is rage without a target--who do I blame for those awful things?--and therefore there is nowhere to discharge it. So I’m afraid I will always carry that anger with me as well. Again, I wish I could have stopped it. I wish I could wipe it all away, make it so that none of it ever happened. But I can’t. I just can’t, and that also makes me want to cry. There is scant consolation to be had in any of this, but if there is any, it lies in the fact that you are feeling none of those things any longer. You are not hurting now. I wish you were still here. I wish you could stay with me forever. But you’re not hurting. The agony and the suffering are over. Rachael, baby, I’m glad you’re not hurting now.

Rachael, as we discussed several times, none of us are really sure what comes after this life ends. I know that after lifetimes of a professed disbelief in an afterlife, we both did open ourselves to the possibility of there being something else out there. I remember being out in our back yard one night with our dogs and staring up at all the stars in a very clear sky. I thought of how vast and mysterious this universe is and how there is so much we don’t know or understand about our existence. In a place so vast, there are possibilities beyond anything we could ever imagine. Potentially strange and wonderful things. So we had to allow for the possibility that maybe we had been wrong all along, and that perhaps there is something else beyond this hard life on earth. And so it is my fondest and most sincere wish that you are somewhere better now. That you are in a place where you know only joy and are forever free of pain of any kind.

I love you, Rachael. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone or anything. I will never stop missing you. I hope somehow you are able to know of these words. That you hear me talking to you. Maybe you can. Somehow. Know this above all else, then. Despite the pain I feel, I will always be grateful that you shared your life with me for these last twelve years. I am grateful that you were able to be with me for as long as you were. Thank you for living with me and loving me. There is no way I could ever equal or repay what you gave me, but I am so grateful to you.

Rest in peace, sweet Rachael. Rest in peace.


Forbidden Fruit Curiosities said...

Bryan, my heart aches for you.

If there is ever anything within mine or Doug's power that we are able to do for you, please don't hesitate to ask us. You haven't left our thoughts. Rachael was a very sweet, kind person, and made the world a brighter place.

Tod said...

Beautifully stated Bryan.

May peace find you, my friend.


KentAllard said...

Very beautiful, Bryan. I hope the pain will ease for you.

noigeloverlord said...

My heart aches for you Bryan. No one should have to go through the pain you and Racheal went through. I rarely see someone who loves someone the way you and Rachael loved each other. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Gayle said...

Bryan, Rachael loved you so much and she truly knew how precious she was to you. All the things you said above are thing she already knew. The many, many times that she and I talked, we always talked about you and what a dear man you are. I joined her so often and said, "I love this man for the way he loves YOU!" Bryan, you are all that she ever wanted and lived your life to be there for her because you so loved her. Bless you, Bry.

Anonymous said...

thank you for writing this, Bryan. thank you for posting it where we can all read it. truly, she no longer suffers. and, as members of my family who have passed still live in ME, she still lives in YOU.----your friend, Paul Minturn

Mary said...

Bryan, I know that Rachael hears you. I know she worried about you and what would happen to you afterwards because that is the kind of person she was. I know you are in pain right now. I've been there and know how hard it is to keep going. But keep going you must. I won't lie to you and tell the pain will go away. I will tell you that with lots of time it will ease. Keep writing. It helps. Write the anger, love, and heart break of it all and know that you are still loved by Rachael and many others.

edonald said...

I truly believe she hears you, Bryan. I share your anger, as do many of us - it's criminally wrong for this disease to have robbed us of Rachael and we wish there was something we could do. I'm glad that you had her, that you found each other and shared the time you had together. It is a blessing, even if it was over far too soon. You are not alone.

Ginger Nuts said...

Bryan, that was beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. Take care my friend, your in my thoughts and prayers

Lee said...

Sending you much love, man.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Selena Kitt said...

I am heartbroken for you. Don't stop expressing yourself like this. Continue to talk to her, continue to write it out. That's the only thing that helped me, writing it down. I actually created a separate blog so I could just express the grief. Something you might consider. Holding you in my heart and in my thoughts on this journey.

gun said...

I'm really sorry, Bryan. Yes, I have also come to think there COULD be an afterlife of some sort. Because whatever we are, we are definitely not our bodies. If you go back enough years (a decade?), then none of the molecules comprising your body today was part of it then.

Wish you the best.

danbarber82 said...

As a long time fan, it's truly awful to hear about you going such a painful tragedy. All I can give are my deepest condolences and sympathies to you and your respective families who've lost a piece of your hearts.
Take care and may the day come that you'll both be together again.