Wish You Were Here

My darling,

I miss you so much. Do you know it’s been 404 days since I last saw you last? It feels like forever. Remember how we used to count down the days until we’d see each other again? How every day forward brought us another day closer? Now I just feel so far away from you. I miss you like crazy. I know you are probably closer than ever, reading over my shoulder and just saying “If you only could see how close I really am”. But I can’t see you, and I can no longer count down the days until I see you again, because only God knows that. I just wish you were here.

You would be so proud of our baby girl. She is growing up so quickly and has the best personality already. She constantly is making me laugh. She has so many of your quirks too! She loves to walk on her toes like you, bite her hand, not to mention her stubbornness! You must be outraged though to learn that she hates bananas, which were your favorite food. I can see you now, laughing that big boisterous laugh, about how your flesh and blood refuses to eat something so “wholesome and delicious” as a banana.

I think our little girl sees you sometimes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. But I am also so very happy, I want you to spend time with her, I want her to know you, to see you. We talk about you all the time, she can point you out in a picture now. She calls out “Da Da” at such random times, sometimes looking off into space or whenever we walk into church. Please watch over her, I worry so much about her when I’m not near.

This week marks so many memories, emotions, anniversaries.

2 years ago this week we were in the final moments of the greatest countdown of our lives – the countdown to our wedding day. I can’t believe its only been 2 years this coming Monday, May 11th. It feels like a lifetime ago. I miss you so much, I wish you were here to celebrate with me, to cheers ourselves for making it 2 years, and to toast to many more to come. My heart aches just thinking about the time, memories, and children we lost out on.

2 years ago this week I began graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. I was Jennifer Swihart for 5 whole days of class before we were wed. Since I have been in school, I have gone from engaged, to married, to pregnant, to widowed, to a mother. It is so difficult to fathom how many changes my life has undergone in a program that was supposed to be a short stent in our lifetime together. Tomorrow is my commencement ceremony with my class (even though I don’t get done until November). And it will be incredibly bittersweet. I just wish you could be there. It doesn’t help that tomorrow is also Mother’s day. I know you would have spoiled me rotten, you were always so good at that. I never thanked you often enough. So thank you my darling, for being a true man of God and always choosing to love me, each and every day. Pray for me tomorrow, that I make it through the day.

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All my love,
Jennifer

PS Every shooting star, every candle blown out, every eyelash caught, every 11:11, every coin thrown in a wishing well, every time dandelion seeds are blown, you are my wish. Every time.

Love Like Nate

“Every morning I still wake up and the first thing I want to do is see your face.”

I have so much to say, and yet so little. My mind feels so far away today. I’ve been told today will be worse than tomorrow. It’s difficult to tell. I’ve dreaded this week, dragged my feet hoping it wouldn’t come while concurrently wishing it would just be over already. Sometimes waiting is the worst part. It holds you in place, keeps you locked until your time is called so you can finally begin moving forward.

I have wanted to write so much these past few weeks. I wish I had a better excuse for not, but to be honest I have just been so tired. Cecilia, school, and just getting myself up every morning out of bed without him takes every ounce of strength and energy I have. So often I find myself reciting thoughts I would like to capture on paper, to write and share. Yet by the time I get time to do it, the thought of typing anything feels like climbing a mountain with 100 pounds on my back. I feel so weighed down.

I can still feel him. I can see him when I close my eyes, feel his love and warmth. It doesn’t feel possible that he has been gone for one year. That in less than 24 hours I will no longer be able to say “last year Nate and I were doing this together…” I have a voicemail from him on March 31st last year. I have listened to it over and over and over again. His voice sounds so familiar still, like it was yesterday. I miss him. I miss everything about him. In so many ways it feels like he has only been gone for 10 seconds. And yet it feels like 100 years.

I recently turned 26. I feel so more like 62. So tired, so heavy, so old. Too much has happened for me to only be 26. I don’t like turning a year older while he will forever remain frozen in time, his face never aging past 24. And then I see Cecilia’s face. And how much she has grown, how much she looks like him. I cannot express into words how wonderful she is to me, how much of a gift I was given through her. She truly is my light.

There is so much I want to share, so many thoughts on life, love, death, faith, etc… but I simply do not have the words, nor the energy today. As I allowed myself time to grieve alone this morning I began to finally read through the dozens of letters Nate wrote me. How blessed I am that he should leave such a lasting memory of his love for me! It is not without coincidence that I opened the following letter first; for even after death he always knows the right thing to say.

25 March 2013

Dear Jen,

This morning I found out that an old classmate of mine has died. I was never very close to him, but we did become friends in middle school when we were both into skateboarding and football.

As these kind of things are wont to do, the news made me think of my own life and death. One of my biggest fears is not dying so much as it is leaving my loved ones uncertain, be it about my affections for them, things I may have said to or about them, or even the state of my own soul. When I die, I want my friends and family – and you especially – to know that I left this world in God’s friendship and so await you in heaven for when your own time should come.

And as I thought about this, it struck me that the only way to pass on such assurance (to myself not least of all) is to love radically at every moment. For death does not pre-announce itself, not for most people at least. What a terrible thing it would be to die after an argument with you or after sinning against God! To die unreconciled is surely the worst thing that can happen to anyone. I must continue drinking from the source of love Himself if I am to become a flowing spring to others. Please pray that God will teach me how to love like Him. I love you.

Love, Nate

Let us all remember to have faith and love like Nate.

Jennifer Trapuzzano