It seems natural to speak to you now after having been silent for so many years. In recent years I have spoken to you in anger, in despair, and in doubt. Now I speak to you in love.
Thirty years ago when I marched down the aisle in a white dress on my father’s arm, I felt pretty and innocent. When you died, I lost that innocence. In grieving, I’ve regained it. The breath that was knocked out of me when you died has returned.
It isn’t easy to give up what has defined my life for so many years: Michelle, the grief, and you. I can no longer blame you or her for what life hasn’t given me.
Though my association with you was brief (only a few short years), it has been the cornerstone of my life. We don’t belong to each other anymore in the way we used to. The ties that bound me to you — my anger and resentment — are gone. The other tie, Michelle, is grown and married with her own family.
What binds me to you now is the memory of the love we had for each other. It transcends time and space. It cannot be severed by death. The twinkle in your eye, that I often saw, was ignited by the love in your heart. I cherish that love, always will, and I’ll remember that when I think of you.
I say “goodbye” now, as I walk away from a life defined by your death to meet the life that awaits me around the next corner. Wish me luck, Howard.
Thanks for all you have taught me and given me.
I love you,
Grief Denied: A Vietnam Widow’s Story, is
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