My beautiful friend. I miss you so much. I know you're gone far beyond my reach now, and I know this message goes out to be unread and unreturned.
But I am writing to you as if you can hear me.
Today is my birthday. I thought about you all day, about how you used to come here with something yummy and with a Christmas ornament for me, every year. That was wonderful, I loved that so much. I turned 37 today and thought about when you were 37, and had your little son at long last. I sent you a card and "The Runaway Bunny". Then when you were 39 I had my daughter, and you sent me a card and "Where the Wild Things Are".
Your birthday is in just a few weeks. I will make scones in honour of us, and then go out and buy myself an ornament that reminds me of you. Maybe a Starbucks one because I love the little china cup you always have on your tree.
I should tell you that I have become great friends with Elvera. She and I seem to understand each other...she has invited me to your old summer camp to cook with her next year, and (this is making me cry for the first time today...) I think you would be so pleased to know that I am going to go there in your footsteps and do what you did. I'm so happy that I will get to be in that same kitchen and maybe learn from Elvera about those roasted vegetables you used to do.
My mom misses you. My daughters miss you. Ian misses you too. He loved you.
Did you see how many people came to your funeral? 662 - it was crazy. I felt a bit sorry for Bryan because I think every last one of them hugged him and cried a little. Not to blame them.
But Bryan's doing great. I'm so glad you got him to the homeopath before you died...it has made a world of difference. He was standing up to people, the week after you left. You should have seen him during some of those pre-funeral organisation meetings - you would have been proud. He was firm - quiet, respectful, but firm and decisive. He didn't let people walk on him. I was proud of him too.
In a way I think he might come into his own, now. He is stronger and I think he will become a different man, a different father, as a result of having to live without you.
Not that I think it's a good thing you are gone. This is my way of finding a silver lining, that's all.
I will never stop missing you.
I want to type "you'll never know how much I love you", but I think I'm wrong about that. I think I loved you exactly the same amount as you loved me.
I have such comfort, I want you to know - such comfort that you and I had something nearly unspoken. I want you to know that I know you loved me...I know you were close to me. Even though we didn't always get to see each other as often, or spend as much time together these past three years once you went back to work, I know it didn't mean anything. Don't worry about that. I know you worried about it, and you felt bad, but I'm telling you it's okay.
I love you so much. I always felt you were uncomfortable with the term 'best friend', but you need to know that I called you that always, and I will call you that always, and that it's not some sort of competition - it's a statement of fact. Of my friends, you are the best. The best, my darling.
I also need to tell you that, because of that last morning we spent together, when your soul was clinging on with the most fragile of tendrils to your body, I do not fear death any longer. You have helped me with my deepest dread. You showed me that I can go toward that moment with certainty and peace. You showed me that pain is fleeting, but acts of love, generosity, freedom of spirit, uproarious laughter, and determined kindness last for a generation.
I love you so much.
I will miss you so much.
I will come and have coffee with you in your mansion the second I get there. Because now there really IS someone in heaven that I can hardly bear to be without.
The world is without salt, my lovely, best of friends. I can never savour it in the same way again.