Dear Walt,

Today sucks. Your celebration last night was wonderful, but today I’m already exhausted from crying. Our son told me it was a more uplifting memorial than any funeral he’d ever been to. The slideshow that played made me smile. “Amazing Grace” made me cry, but only the first few notes. I bucked up after that.

Our neighbors who were displaced to Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey drove over from Lake Charles. Others came from the parts of town where they’re staying during their home reconstruction. It thrilled me and broke me at the same time to hear of their adoration for you.

Your older siblings and their spouses flew in from both coasts while your younger and her family drove in from Austin. Our daughter in law’s parents came from Austin, too. My siblings made the trip from Dallas. So many traveled so far to share their love for you.

Our oldest grandson is so terribly sad. Our granddaughter said you are her favorite superhero. Our three year old grandson couldn’t take his eyes off the photos of you on the screen. Our youngest, your namesake, behaved perfectly.

Friends you hadn’t worked with for years drove across town. A writer friend you once went whitewater rafting with—along with my editor—drove even farther. The artisan woodworker who built our piano desk came, too. Another friend came from Galveston.

Friends you made during the demolition of our house stopped by. One who helped rip out insulation and does wedding cakes for a living brought cupcakes. Some had known you two decades. Some had known you four months. They said such amazing things.

Your son spoke so eloquently of the man, the father, the friend, and the artist you were. Your younger sister told the story of the childhood fence accident and the sixty stitches in her hand you’d shared with me many times. You blamed yourself. She never blamed you. She loved you.

Your father’s widow spoke about how with every visit you brought their favorite foods. She called you Walter. I think she always called you Walter. My brother read your eulogy. His wife read this poem that her sister had sent me and which has been a great source of comfort.

You were loved by so many. I hope you know that. It’s so hard not having you to touch. Last night would’ve made you cry. You would’ve felt unworthy, undeserving. You deserved it all.