Dear Walt,

Last night I ate ice cream in the hot tub. You and I did this together many times. Most often it was ice cream you’d made. Last night I was lucky there was a partial pint of store brand rocky road. A friend gifted us a new ice cream maker for Christmas since we lost ours in Harvey. You knew because you looked in the bag that arrived before December 21st happened. Your recipe came with the machine so I’ll be able to replicate it. Except it won’t be as good without you.

The hot tub sent me into tears yesterday. It was so cold out, in the 30s, and the perfect night for it but I couldn’t get the valves turned right though I’ve done it dozens of times. Turns out the pool guy I had come fix the issue with the chlorinator and the spa jets reset one that I never had to touch. It took me and our son in law several trials to get it set correctly. It was a logic puzzle: If this water is going here then this needs to be shut off but this isn’t working so this needs to be switched. The endeavor sent me into tears because you showed me how to do this ages ago.

Thing is I’d never had to mess with that other set of valves because you never messed with them but for some reason the pool guy did. I know he was checking everything and I knew from the angle they were set wrong but he’d tightened them down to the point that my frozen fingers couldn’t work them and well tears over something so ridiculously first world and stupid. But we got it working and I enjoyed the warm water and the ice cream as I talked to you and cried.

I read an article yesterday about conquering one’s To Do list. How it helps to break it up into one big thing, three medium things, and five small things for the day. The part of me that loves to plan went to town on this. In fact, I went to town on all sorts of Plans To Do yesterday so that I could get up today and jump. So far there’s been no jumping. Just ten trips up and down the stairs to deal with dogs and the doorbell and a pharmacy run. The community fence along our property is being replaced which means the dogs have to go out on leashes which means stairs.

Friends are being so supportive when I share how I feel like a failure for my whining and for my inability to get anything done. They don’t push me to write. They do quite the opposite, understanding my inability to do most anything requiring thought. Apparently it’s okay that I whine. It’s all right not to ¬†get anything done. Except I’m the one doing and not doing and I hate it. My To Do list includes so many things to keep me busy and keep me from falling apart.

Yet today is on the way to being another one filled with nothing. I just don’t have it in me to do more than whine and cry and sit and tell you everything and hear you telling me to stop wallowing because you would hate it since you’re at the center of it all. You would hate being at the center of it all. You’d hate it so very much because you didn’t believe in wallowing. You believed in action which is where I get my drive to DO in order to bring grief to a halt.

I wonder too often if I’d be doing better had there been signs that your heart was about to give out though probably not. I’m just looking for answers that don’t exist. Your cardiologist thought you were doing well. You seemed to be feeling well. You never complained except to stop work early or take breaks when you were tired. I just took this as normal tired not failing heart tired. You did, too. Unless you didn’t tell me but I don’t think that’s true. Our life together, even with the disaster of Harvey, was too amazing to quit. Our love too strong. Our partnership vital and true.

I remember one night when we were staying with our son and daughter in law before our house was livable and you leaned down to me in bed with tears in your eyes and said, “I want our life back,” before you kissed me. I want it back, too, sweetie. I want it back so badly. I miss that life.

I miss you.