The sunshine peeked in through the curtain, as Joe fleetingly opened his eyes. He sensed that it was still the early morning, so he glanced over to see if Maria was asleep, but the covers were folded over. It wasn’t unusual for her to be up before him, so he lie awake for a while staring at the slightly crooked seams in the ceiling. For months now, getting out of bed wasn’t at all like it used to be. The all-too-familiar silence shrouded every room in the house. No contagious giggles to listen for, no hopping on the bed relentlessly, no more “Dad, wake up…it’s time to play!”. Ever. And, no more pre ‘wake-up’ cuddling with Maria either.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of the carefully placed piece of paper on their once-new, now worn wooden night stand–the same colour as the girls’ rocking horses. Immediately, his stomach sank, his throat tightened and he knew. First, it was the Twins’ and now, it was her. Prayer after prayer made, but none answered. Why? Why us, why me? He just couldn’t understand it. Any of it! Life as he knew, as they knew it, had been forever altered that one fall day. That horrifying, earth-shattering day one year ago when they, were no longer.
In that moment, months of tears which had been numbly subdued began overflowing. There it was, the emotion that Maria had begged, even pleaded to see from him. Yet, no matter how hard he had willed it to come, it just wouldn’t! He gently picked up ‘the letter’, as if it were brittle, and started reading through the blurry, carefully scrawled script. As always, it began with the same comforting greeting, which made the inevitable even more heart-breaking.
“My Dearest Husband Joe, …”