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This time of year is always difficult for me, but it is getting better. The days creep forward and my watchful eye is on the calendar. Short movie clips play behind my eyes; snapshots in time.

Four years ago on 8/28/09, I hugged my husband for the last time. When people are sick, I think it's harder over time on the ones that love them. But the abrupt shock of walking away and then never, ever seeing someone again isn't much better. I'm lucky. Our very last words were "I love you's". Our last physical touch was a huge bear hug where I thought he'd squeeze all the air out of me. But, it is such a good memory. Some, they don't have that.

Forty years old. It's young. You never consider them dying really. He'd lived through two horrendous car accidents, a motorcycle crash, and countless stupid bar fights. He'd been told he'd never walk again, but walk he did, and danced too :)

It wasn't always good. We had some bad times over the fifteen years we were together. One has to be careful not to...create a different person than the one that really was. Because we are all made up of the good and the bad in us. It is what makes us uniquely "us."

So I try to keep it real. I try to keep the memories tucked away, for occasional pulling out and touching gently. But this year for the first time, I've thought of handing over the things of his that I have to his family. I'll still keep some photographs, and the gifts he gave me; small, thoughtful things. But I don't know that I can completely move forward without totally letting go of the physical things that still smell of him and his cologne; of the leather jacket that still holds the shape of his body; his glasses and watch as they were found. While the place that he held in my heart will always remain, it may be time to let the hard, physical realities of him move on.

I no longer think of him hourly, or daily, or sometimes, not even weekly. It's been several months since I took his things out and inhaled them, touched them, lost myself in those yesterdays. It's been a long time since I cried. That's growth. That's...letting go. That'

It has, from time to time, been lonely these four years. Not very often. Thankfully, I don't get lonely like a lot of people. I live too much in my own head, lol! But there have been such painful milliseconds of missing at times, that left me breathless and shaking. Those too, have faded away.

The love? It will always live as a shadow in my mind. Some people are never loved. To have been loved is a privilege.

I do miss you babe. I miss hearing you call me 'Baby...?' from the other room. I miss your chin on top of my head as you rubbed my tired shoulders when I worked twelve hour night shifts from our home. I miss your crooked grin when you were up to something. And I miss most the excitement we shared when hiking, walking in the woods, photographing things, seeing things, just the two of us.

Life moves forward though, and I have had to move with it. I know you would not want anything less. And I love you for that as well. You are on my mind tonight, but in a good way.

Your wife,
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