Dear Walt,

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you though I talk to you daily and rant to you daily and laugh daily as I tell you things and sob daily because I miss you every single second of every single day. Today marks seven weeks since December 21st happened. This past week has been a fairly decent one but we don’t want to talk about the week that came before. That’s when I stopped writing to you because I didn’t have it in me to put coherent thoughts together. Everything out of my fingers was bitter and angry and sorrowful and it took all I had just to breathe. That was a week I’d like to not repeat but I have no control so it might happen.

I’ve been better since I gave myself permission to do nothing. As in literally nothing. Of course that never happens. I can’t not do. But at least I’ve given up feeling as if I’ve failed if a day goes by and nothing appears to have been done. No words written. No house progress made. No shower taken. As I type this, I’m actually on day four of the same clothes. Maybe day five. I do change if I have to leave the house and I change to sleep but it’s the same yoga pants and sports bra and t-shirt every day. I hear you laughing because that’s really not any different than it was when you were still here with me. Now however I care less than I did then.

Several people have recently told me how strong I am because even when I’m doing nothing, I’m doing things… whether on the house or with your estate or with my writing career. On that front I can hear you griping and see you rolling your eyes over the money I’ve spent towards the rest of the year on covers and conferences and courses. But I don’t have you here now to help and no matter how strong I am I’m not strong enough for this creative career without you.

This morning as a matter of fact I had to figure out a character’s backstory on my own so that it would work in tandem with the other character I’d already developed so beautifully. I was stuck. I could’ve told you the problem and you would’ve cleared it up in a matter of minutes. You were amazing like that. You weren’t just my marriage partner and life partner but you were the other half of me as a writer just as I was the other half of you. I was writing my fourth published book when we met. You had input into every project I tackled after that. Even the ones I couldn’t get off the ground. Eighteen out of our twenty years together I had you as my sounding board because those first two years we were busy honeymooning and I didn’t do much writing at all.

This gig is so hard without you to turn to for input and advice and answers to things I can research but things I didn’t have to before December 21st happened. Do you realize what a massive hole you left in this world? In this life? In my life? I’m incredibly selfish in my loss because of all the ways I’d come to depend on you. You made it so easy for me to do that. It was who you were, doing for others. Putting others first always. You’d be exhausted at the end of the day but would still do for me or for our daughter or son in law if one of us was unable.

My strength came from you. We both did what needed to be done. We fed off each other in every possible way. The two halves of one whole is not an exaggeration… even while we were capable of being completely independent. Thing is, we worked so much better as a team. We loved being a team. It was so natural. Perfectly second nature. Togetherness required no thought, no sacrifices or adjustments. Isn’t that the point of marriage? Our union made the individual parts stronger. We grew together over the years, fusing and bonding with time. We faced hurdles together. We conquered fears and obstacles like any good dynamic duo.

You left me with reams of knowledge I didn’t have before you. You were the most inquisitive person I’ve ever known. The night of December 20th you were watching a documentary on the story structure of Star Wars. Not a day went by when you didn’t discover something new or learn a piece of trivia that could be used to give Icefall its futuristic verisimilitude. You worked ahead of the curve in everything science and technology. And you shared it all with me, giving me the same advantage, putting it all into context. I miss that so much. I miss it because it was one part of all the things that made you you. The you I loved. The you I love. Always.