I miss you so much. You never realized how loved you were, how amazing and irreplaceable and highly thought of you were. I'm so sorry that I was angry the last time we met, I would give anything for just 5 minutes with you. To tell you that I care, that there will always be a part of my heart reserved just for you. To tell you that yes, I do love you and I wish more than anything in the world that our life together had not gone the way it did. To feel your arms around me, we always fit together just right. And to give you the biggest hug ever, so that you would always know that you are loved. I now realize that you never felt loved enough, you were like a bottomless well that could never get full.
I have a picture of you getting sun in Cancun, the second time we went. I put it on the fridge, so I can look at it and remember your body. The way your leg hair was so soft, and you didn't have any hair on your knees, ever. Your big strong hands and your wide shoulders. I remember kissing the scar on your chest, and tracing it with my finger. I loved to watch you sleep, and run my finger along the bridge of your nose, and over your big eyebrows.
I miss how warm you always were, and how warm you would make me, when I was cold. You used to laugh at me because I couldn't make that pen warm enough to bubble, remember? You called me snake and I called you hot rock. And your collection of boxer shorts, oh my gosh. And how beautiful you always made me feel, and how annoyed I'd get when you goosed me from behind. I hated that.
How confident you seemed when we first met, you always seemed so sure of yourself. That night after we first met, we spent an hour on the phone and found out that we'd each always wanted to go to Greece, because of the movie Summer Lovers. We couldn't believe it. Then you told me you'd told all your friends how cool I was, because I'd been watching Tommy when you called me, and you were watching it too. On our second date, you told me about the history of the word "testify". You told me that it came from Roman times, when men would grab their testicles when under oath. Then I asked you, "so, what does "rectify" mean?" You told me you'd just been trying to impress me, and you couldn't believe how quickly I came back. You said that was the night you realized you were going to marry me someday.
The first time you took me to Chicago. We ate at that Japanese restaurant, and I used chopsticks for the first time. When you'd first told me we'd be going there, I practiced for a week with two bic pens, so I'd look sophisticated. Then I found out chopsticks were optional, and you didn't use them.
That night, you took me to the China Club and I met your friends. Ben, Andy, Mike D, Adam and Schless. You wore your black leather jacket that had She-She's tags on the zipper. You saw Andy on the sidewalk and just walked up and gave him a huge hug, you loved it when your friends got together. Everybody called you "Julie" from the Loveboat, because you were pretty much the cruise director of the friends. The minute we'd get to the house, you were on the phone, setting up plans for everyone to get together at clubs, restaurants or each other's homes. You loved your friends, and they loved you back. I've never seen such an awesome group of guys in my entire life.
The very first dinner we ever cooked together was chicken tostadas. We got the recipe out of my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook and we shopped for the ingredients together. You purchased avacados to make guacamole with. As we cooked in my kitchen in Bloomington, you told me you loved cooking, and that it was really a lot like chemistry. I'd never met a guy who actually cooked. You amazed me and I felt so lucky that you chose me.
You came to my graduation and gave me a boom box as a gift, and it had a cd player in it! I remember your card, you welcomed me to the 20th century. You had this huge collection of laser discs that we'd watch, and when I came over I was so impressed by how clean your apartment was.
Before I moved in with you, we went to couple's counseling and you were angry that the counselor seemed to take my side. You had a really hard time coming to grips with the possibility that you were in the wrong. We worked through that and I felt like our life was going to be wonderful. You'd always told me we would get married, and I started to see that as a reality, not just a possibility.
Then, in 1995, your beloved grandmother died. Ma. You adored her and she you. You never really bounced back from that. You carried her driver's license in your wallet.
On April 4, 1995, you asked me to be your wife. I was shocked beyond belief, and so happy to accept. I'll never forget that day. We had always talked on the phone at least once a day, ever since we started dating. On April 4th, you didn't call me all day long. I remember wondering if you were mad at me. Then you told me that you'd been too nervous to talk to me. When I walked into the apartment that night, you blindfolded me and sat me on the couch. Then you handed me a velvet box and took off the blindfold. I stared at that beige, velvet box for a long time, until you whispered, "Open it". I whispered back, "I can't". So you opened it for me and there was my ring, how surreal. You whispered into my ear, "Will you marry me?" and I whispered back, "Yes." Later, you told me you had whispered because you were so nervous. I thought it was sweet.
One year and two days later, on April 6, 1996, we were married by a Rabbi at Jumer's, our favorite hotel ever. The wedding was so us. Funny and loving and happy and awkward at times. The wedding was during Passover, and your grandfather blessed the Matzoh instead of blessing the Challah. We were told to buy red wine for the wedding ceremony and we laughed about it later. We had decided to buy a dry red but the Rabbi said "No! You must buy a sweet wine, for your life together will be sweet!" So we ended up buying Mogen David, and sent the rest of the bottle to my dad at the first table because he loves sweet wine.
So our married life moved forward, and with it we experienced my eating disorder, your alcoholism and our financial worries. But we also had a beautiful home and two AWESOME children. And I knew the prospect of parenthood freaked you out more than you let on.
Fast forward 15 years. You were deep into your addiction, I was working two jobs and selling on ebay to support our family and we were having major problems. I was never one to give in, or up, easily, and I was determined that our marriage would work. Because we had children. We had a history. We had inside jokes. And, as you always told me, we'd spent more time together than apart. It was worth saving.
Then came that day. November 2, 2009. The day before my dad's birthday, I'll never forget it. I went into the basement while you were at school, looking for a heartburn pill. That's when I found the bottle marked "Vicodin 120 tablets". It had been dispensed on October 25. There were 9 pills left. I did the math and realized you had taken 111 Vicodin in 8 days. Along with your Clonopin, Ambien CR and Ativan.
On that morning, I sat on the couch and sobbed for an hour, because that's when I realized how bad things really were. And I realized that I couldn't let our children wake up to a dead father, no matter how in love I was with our history. You were so angry, so hurt and so hateful. So much happened between November 2 and now.
We went through ugly divorce proceedings, incredibly ugly. Because of your addiction, I requested sole custody and you fought that tooth and nail, and so our case went to trial. In May of 2010, you overdosed Zach on his Clonopin, because you had already taken your Ambien and you forgot you'd given him the first dose. That's when I realized I had to file an order of protection, because I couldn't be sure you were safe to be around the kids. You were beyond angry, I don't think there are words to describe how angry you were.
I learned to trust my gut, do what I needed to do to keep our kids safe and I hoped that someday you would understand.
One morning in September you called me, drunk. You had relapsed again and wanted to be done with it all. We talked and you told me you wanted to go to treatment, and so the next morning I picked you up and took you to Proctor.
Can I just say? YOU DID AN AMAZING JOB IN THERE!!! You went to meetings, worked your program and got a sponsor. You completed treatment successfully and stayed sober. I was so proud of you and even better, you were proud of YOU. That was a wonderful thing to see.
Sadly, you relapsed in December and really beat yourself up over it. You came over for Christmas Day and you brought "Scrooge". All four of us cuddled on the couch and at the point in the movie where Scrooge is redeemed by his family, I saw tears run down your face. You wiped them away and I knew you wanted that for yourself.
You got sober again, but for some reason I will never know, you started drinking in April. The last time I ever saw you alive was on April 10, 2011. You and Julia texted and/or talked every day during that week, but you stopped communicating with her after April 15th. I got worried and just had a feeling. A bad one. So I told the kids I was going to the store and I went to your apartment.
You were pronounced dead on April 17, 2011.
You were buried on April 21, 2011.
Both of those days were during Passover.
We miss you every day, my friend.