I think a series of letters to loved ones would be the way to go. Letters that maybe never made it to words … Who is to say what the future holds? If you are reading this then … I am probably already gone. Gone to return, so to speak. Ashes to ashes and all that jazz.
—Traci Cleverley Pink
At some point I may try to articulate why I’ve avoided writing in my blog for most of the past year. For today, however, to mark four years to the day since Traci’s passing, I have brought forward a previous post in an edited version (you can read the original post here).
Among the many remarkable things Traci did in her last few years on this planet, she had the foresight and the fortitude to prepare herself, and to some extent her loved ones, including me, for her eventual death. For someone who is relatively healthy to think ahead as Traci did is rare in today’s society; although, if you knew her, you would know how perfectly these acts of thoughtfulness in advance exemplify her personality and character.
Traci wrote 16 or 17 letters in total, all in a journal of beautiful handmade paper by a local bookbinder, who bound it with a single stitch so the pages were easy to separate. It appeared that she had written most of the letters in 2009, and I’m sure she would have written more if she had been given the time.
She gave us, the ones she loved and left behind, a precious gift, and her letter to me is yet another reason for me to say to her, as she said to me,
Here, in its entirety, is the text of her letter to me, with a photograph of the actual letter underneath. (Explanations: “For as long as it lasts …” is the first line of our wedding song, written by local songwriter Larry Jensen; her next line refers to the fact that she arrived in my life as a co-tenant of my house, not as a girlfriend. It also reflects her feisty nature and keen wit.)
Wow. What a journey. Your patience, love and understanding are more than I am capable of.
“For as long as it lasts, for as long as breath breathes life in me …”
Clean nails, good hair and teeth, that and the fact that i could take you in a fight brought me into this house. Your love kept me there.
You were exactly what I needed, like a cool drink after a walk in the desert.
I did my best to be a good wife, I really did. A diamond in the rough you used to say. Sorry is all I can say & I LOVE YOU. Of this there is no doubt.
CODA: four years after you’re gone. Three days ago, the “memories” feature on my Facebook profile activated two posts you shared on my timeline on November 21, 2011:
On November 21, 2015, I shared those posts with my friends under the caption “Parting words”, which many people interpreted to mean those were your last words to me on the day you died. Well, not quite. They were, I believe, the last words you posted to my Facebook timeline, and so you meant them to be semi-public. Earlier that day was the last time we saw each other, that extra long embrace which has had to take the place of all the hugs and kisses we would miss from then on. (See this post from 2014.)
These posts were a sweet, unexpected discovery, just like the “Letters to Loved Ones.” It feels like a little nudge from the other side, to have this turn up on my Facebook timeline just as this time of year comes around again.
Thanks Traci. Your favourite husband is doing just fine without you. Missing you like crazy, as ever, but living my life joyfully, knowing that’s what you would want for me. “Of that there is no doubt.”