I’ve been told it’s helpful to write to Mike. That I should tell him what I want to say in a letter. But isn’t what makes it a letter that the person it is addressed to has at least a possibility of reading it (formatting aside)? I wish I could write my husband a letter like we use to. A note. A card. A message in his lunch bag. I loved those exchanges. Nevermind a gift, write me a card. Maybe I’m just too narrow minded but writing to him now when there’s not even the slightest chance of him reading it seems rather pathetic and depressing. How do I start?… “Dear Dead Husband, You’ll never read this or even know I wrote it so I’m writing this unnecessary note to myself. Fun.” That’s where I guess readers come in. I’ll write it “to” him but you can actually be my audience. It’s still silly, I know, but maybe a little less pathetic. Just a little.
Even still, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to write (or better yet, say) this apology for a while but every time I think about it I just can’t. It hurts too much. It feels too real. It has too many moments that I can’t change and have no control over. I need to write it though. So here it goes…
I’m so unbelievably sorry. I failed you. It was my job to take care of you and protect you and I failed so miserably. I’m sorry that I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry that I didn’t fight harder to stop you from getting that bike. I tried, I really did. I didn’t want you to get it. You knew that. I told and begged you not to get one over and over. But I think you could see in me that deep down I wasn’t completely against it. As much as I wanted to be and knew it was bad I just couldn’t. You have to understand that it was hard for me. You put me and my happiness before you constantly. You gave me pretty much anything I wanted or figured out a way to make it happen. I know you put yourself second to me. How could I actually argue from my heart the one time you put what you wanted first after everything you had done for me? I wanted you to be happy. But I had such a bad gut feeling about that bike. I’m sorry that I didn’t try harder to stop you from getting it. I know logically that it was your choice and I couldn’t have stopped you or saved you but that doesn’t stop me from being sorry about it.
I’m sorry that you died alone on the side of the road. I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you. I don’t know if I could have handled it and realistically, you wouldn’t have known if I was there or not but I’m still sorry I wasn’t there for your last moment. I would have found a way to deal with it. It was excruciating to see you in the hospital morgue that day knowing that you had already been gone for hours and that I had missed our last goodbye. I hope when it happened that you weren’t scared. I often wonder what your last thought was and hope that it was oblivious to the fact that it would be your last thought. I feel like in the little time there actually was it would have been, “oh shit,” and I feel like if that was the case then that’s not the worst thought to have. I’m so incredibly sorry you had to go through that alone.
I’m sorry that you spent your last living hours at work for a pay check that you’d never see. I’m sorry that I got the benefit of your hard work. I did nothing for that. I didn’t work the long hours or have to stay up all night to be there. I wish you got to experience the reward instead of me. I’m sorry that you had to read my notes in your lunch everyday that week counting down to Friday. I thought I was counting down to our time together at the cottage. I didn’t know I was counting down to the day you would die. I know neither of us could have known what was coming but I’m sorry that during that week I wasn’t living in the present with you. I shouldn’t have had any countdown at all.
I’m sorry that I was asleep and peaceful as you lived your last hours and died. I selfishly wish that your last moments were spent with me. I unrealistically wish that I knew what was going to happen so that I could have cleared my schedule from days before to just soak you in. I’m sorry that my first thought when I woke up at 5 am to Tango crying downstairs in his crate was annoyance towards you because you were suppose to be home taking care of him by then, not me. Tango knew your schedule better than me but you were already gone by the time that happened.
I’m sorry that you never got to come home to our home that day. I’m sorry that you never got to go to the cottage that weekend and won’t ever again. I know you were looking forward to it and your days off. I’m sorry we never got to go to Croatia in the summer like we were starting to plan. I’m sorry you never got to have the kids that you wanted. I know you would have been an amazing dad. I’m sorry that you’ll never coach their hockey team or carry them on your shoulders. I’m sorry that you don’t get to see Tango and how he is such a great dog. I’m sorry that he doesn’t get to play with you. You were so good at that. I try to play with him like you would have but it’s not the same. I’m sorry that you miss out on all your family’s gatherings. I’m sorry that you can’t be a part of hanging out with your brothers to have beers with them and discuss things with motors, sports and whatever else you guys talked about. It was a really special bond and I know you treasured your time with them. I’m sorry you don’t get to hang out with your friends anymore. I enjoyed watching how happy they made you and all the jokes and memories you guys shared. The banter was hilarious. I love your brothers and your friends but it’s hard sometimes to watch them without you now. I’m sorry that life has to go on without you being part of it.
Most of all, I’m sorry that we never had the chance to grow old together. I wish we had the chance to experience a longer married life. I know it would have been an amazing adventure. I wanted to grow old with you, experience life beside you, and continue to fall more in love with you. I wanted to see you with grey hair and laugh lines from all the laughs and life you lived. I know you would have continued to be so handsome and the best person in my life. I’m sorry you don’t have a future. I would give anything for you to have a life past 28 years old.
For all the things I am sorry for I think you would owe me some apologies too. First of all, for getting that motorcycle when I so badly did not want you to get it. Is it rude to say that I think it was a bit selfish? I know we valued each other’s independence and decision making but this decision impacted me too; we were a team. Did you think of the dangers and what it would mean to me if something happened to you? You aren’t here to experience it but I can tell you firsthand that it is really shitty. I would think you’d owe me an apology for dismissing my worrying instead of taking it seriously. When I told you how I had a really bad feeling about that bike you told me not to worry and promised that you would be okay. However, it wasn’t your promise to give. I know you believed it but you can’t promise something that you can’t control. As much as I want to hug and hold you I also want to shake you a little bit and yell, “I told you so, I wish you listened to me!”
I also wouldn’t be opposed to an apology for all the things I now have to do on my own that we were suppose to do together. An apology for having to figure out how to live on my own and get other people to help me when it should be you here being equally invested in our life. Maybe an apology that I’ve had to figure out finances and all the bills on my own? That I am the sole decision maker for all things, even the things I know nothing about, when it used to be a shared responsibility. I try to find the satisfaction in the fact that I’m making it on my own but it’s really daunting that I now depend solely on myself. Or an apology that I have to passively watch friends’ and family’s lives move forward in the direction that our lives were going while I try to figure out a new solo direction for mine. Most of all, I’d like an apology for just not being around. I miss you and your company here more than you’ll ever know. You just disappeared from this world without any warning when our lives and love were great and so now I’m stuck here in love with someone who suddenly can’t love me back anymore. What am I supposed to do with that?
That’s it. That’s my apology and the apology I would want from you. I’ll never actually get to share my apology with you or you with me but I know it’s there. I know you would be sorry. I knew right from the minute I found out that you would be sorry that this happened. Even as I write this, I know you are sorry about that stupid motorcycle and leaving me. I know you would never want to hurt me and that you loved me. I know you would know that you made a mistake.
Despite all of this, I want to tell you that it’s okay. I forgive you. Honestly, I really do. I forgive myself too for what I did and didn’t do. I need to do that to keep moving forward. I don’t have another choice if I want to be happy. I want to hold onto the love and peacefulness we had, not create anger that was never there and that can’t be resolved. We both did what we could and what we thought was best at the time. I’m learning more and more that I can’t control everything and I know that I certainly can’t go back. Sometimes I just have to forgive myself, let go, and let life happen. I’m open to that and I think I deserve that too.
I needed to acknowledge and start to forgive our shortcomings. We weren’t perfect and I know I’m still far from it but I’m trying to be my best. I’m going to be okay. You helped give me that strength through your confidence in me and my abilities but I’m also fighting tirelessly for it myself. I thought you might like to know that too.