Remember me? It’s been a long time since we last talked. Too long. You’ve been gone for more than 30 years—nearly half of my life—and a lot has happened. I’m not going to get into all of the details because that’s not what this letter is about. This is more a letter of introduction.
You know how you sometimes send an email connecting two of your friends who’ve never met each other before? Of course you don’t because there was no such thing as email back then. Anyway, this isn’t about friends. It’s about connecting family. It’s about introducing you to my son—your grandson—Robbie.
Maybe you’ve already met. I heard Dad was there to greet him and help with the transition to whatever it is you guys transition to, and I don’t know if you’re still close with Dad or not because I have no idea how the whole afterlife thing works. In fact, I didn’t even believe that there was such a thing until Rob died. But then I had to believe, which is why I’m writing you this letter. I’m hoping that you can read it or read my mind or do whatever it is that spirits do.
I don’t have many regrets (that’s not entirely true and we can talk about that some other time), but one of the biggest has always been that you weren’t around to meet my kids and be their grandma. I know you would’ve loved them and they would’ve loved you, and that’s always the first thing I think of whenever I think about you.
I remember how, when you found out that the breast cancer had returned and metastasized, you just didn’t have it in you to fight anymore because you were physically and emotionally exhausted. Patti and I were sitting with you at the dining room table in the house on Horace Harding, pleading with you to give it one more shot. I tried laying a guilt trip on you about not being around to see me get married and be there for my kids, but it was too late and you had already been through too much.
I’ll get to Rob in a moment (and I’ll tell you all about Zach the next time I see you), but I just thought of something else. This may sound harsh and I really don’t mean it to be, but the truth is that I don’t think about you all that much. It’s not that I didn’t love you—you know I did, and I know you loved me too, so I’m not really sure why you’re not in my thoughts more often. Sure, some of it is the passage of time and some of it is my reluctance to look back, but lately I’ve been wondering if there could be another reason.
I brought it up with my therapist Katarina the last time I saw her, and she said something interesting. She said that maybe I had worked out everything there was to work out with you in more than 30 years of therapy. When I went to see a psychic/medium to contact Rob from the great beyond, she mentioned the same thing. She told me that we were all good, that we had a loving relationship and there was nothing left unsaid or undone. I know that’s all true, but it still kind of bothers me.
Now more than ever. A day hasn’t gone by that I don’t think about Rob, and I can’t imagine a day when I won’t. Speaking of which, it’s time I tell you a little about him. The first thing you should know is that he’s really, really funny, and I’m sure he’ll crack you up. Nothing gave me more pleasure than making you laugh when you were alive, and I like to take a little credit for Rob’s sense of humor, so I feel pretty confident that you guys will enjoy each other’s company. I only wish I could remember what your laugh sounded like.
The second thing you should know is that he’s incredibly loving. He and his grandma Phyllis shared a deep and special bond, and I can see that happening with the two of you now. I’ve often said that Rob was a pain in the ass who was deeply loved by many, but you have the advantage of not having to deal with the pain in the ass part. You just get the very best of Rob.
Now that he’s no longer tormented by the many things that tormented him here on Earth, you just get to enjoy his tremendous spirit. That’s the thing I miss most about him. And come to think of it, that’s also the thing I miss most about you.
The crazy thing is that we were together for such a short period of time. I had more time with Rob than I had with you! I’ve lived more of my life hearing “Dad” than I have saying “Mom.” I wrote about this once before, but I screwed up the chronology, so I’ll state it correctly for you now:
Twenty-six years is not nearly enough time for a boy to be with his mother. Twenty-eight years is not nearly enough time for a boy to be with his father. I am the boy and I am the father, and I miss you both very, very much.
I’ve been having these weird, vivid dreams lately (it has something to do with EMDR therapy), and you and Dad have been in them, as have Rob, Zach, Caryn and Maura. We’re all jumbled together, and sometimes you’re there with Rob and Zach when they were little boys, and sometimes I’m a little boy with them too. It changes every night, and Maura has had to wake me up a few times—she said it sounded like I was in distress. I don’t remember any of the specifics other than how jarring this time travel feels when I wake up, and how it makes me miss both of you even more.
It doesn’t make sense to me that it took Rob’s death to make me miss you more than ever, but so many things in life don’t make sense. Maybe in death, they do.
It also took Rob’s death to make me let go of my anger with Dad. You loved him more than any of us, so there must have been some good in him to love. If you should bump into him, tell him I said all is forgiven, and that I very much appreciated him being there to meet Rob on the other side.
So that’s pretty much it for now. You guys can take it from here.