The title of this post is taken from the song After the Storm by Mumford and Sons.
My Dearest Mike,
I haven't listened to this song by Mumford and Sons very much in the last few years. In the months after you passed I listened to this song over and over again for hours on end. I didn't sleep and all I could do was cry. I can't believe the 14th marks seven years since you passed away. Eighty four months since I've heard your voice. Yet, here we are. I still struggle. I often wonder what you would think of this life I've made for myself. Sebastian is the spitting image of you and has so many of your mannerisms. He's making decisions about college and his future. I wish you were here to see the amazing young man he is turning into. Tyler is turning into such a beautiful and amazing young lady. She's started to struggle a little with anxiety. I worry a lot about her, but she's much stronger than I am. Mason, our dearest mason. His anxiety has gotten better, or at least his coping skills have. I marvel at how far he has come. He was so young when you died. He struggled so much more than I realized. He's asked me several times if I remember when he would put his hands around his throat to try and kill himself because he wanted to be with you. He's come a long way and I'm so proud of him. I see you in each of them. In the little things they do. Sebastian came running upstairs the other day to play the new Breaking Benjamin song for me. I'm taking him to see them in Richmond in a few weeks. His taste in music is a lot like yours. Tyler was driving the other day and air drumming on the steering wheel, just like you used to. Mason forever has a book in his hands and every free minute he has before or after school he spends it in the library. I think he may love reading more than any of the other kids and that says a lot.
I watched a video of you with the kids the other day because I'm starting to forget the sound of your voice. I find myself looking at pictures more often to make sure the memories don't fade. I recite the same stories about you to make sure they live on. I try to make your memory apart of everything we do. I hate that I don't have new stories to tell. I only have the 15 years of memories we made. No more, no less. I still get super angry that you are gone. Sometimes I feel cheated. I get even angrier for being so freaking angry because if anyone knows that they need to treasure the time they have with their loved ones, it's me. Most of the time I think I handle things well, but the week leading up to the anniversary is especially difficult. I think about all the what ifs. What if I had just tried to wake you that morning. Would I have realized something was wrong? I will walk through every moment from now until the moment I found you. After that things are blurry and memory isn't so good.
This letter sounds so sad and depressing. I have some great things going on in my life. The kids keep me motivated and moving forward. I love my job and the people I work with. My own anxiety is better than it has been in years. This week is just hard. We miss you. Watch over us, especially the kids as they travel with the band and choir to Disney this week. I worry about them enough for both of us.