Dear Walt,

It’s quiet this morning. There’s a sawzall going downstairs, and I’m playing Johnny Cash and the Killers and Snow Patrol and Radiohead. I can hear our daughter’s TV and my keyboard is clacking. But the dogs are quiet which lately is everything. They’ve been so unsettled, the two older ones. The foster dog cares only about food. At least she’s stopped chasing the cats.

You’ve been gone three weeks and it seems like three years, three eternities. I thought following your service things would ease, but I cry buckets every day. Especially when the weather is stupid gloomy and cold as it’s been. Sunny and cold I can deal with. I have enough gloom filling my chest and weighing me down that I don’t need the gloom outside added to it.

Why aren’t you here?

I lost it last night cleaning out my purse of all things. Buried in the bottom were documents from the hospital the day you went in for hand surgery. There was a Panera receipt from the day we stopped for bagels. There was the appointment card for your next cardiologist visit, the receipt from the last one, neither of which did a damn thing to keep your heart from giving out.

Why aren’t you here?

Strangely, amidst all the tears I’m getting things done. The coffee pot you were battling each morning finally died. I’ve replaced that. Today the shoe rails and fillets arrive from California so our son in law can finish the balustrades. I have to buy window sills and do not want to have to go to the hardwood store. What do I know about buying window sills? I didn’t pay attention when you were doing that, but I’ll figure it out. Oh, and shutters for the dining room.

Why aren’t you here?

I’ve been sobbing my way through Poldark, the lives and the loves, the deaths. Especially the loves. I spend too much time going through the photos of you in my phone gallery, thinking about your triceps, gripping them, holding onto them. Your hair was horrible and makes me laugh. I haven’t found any of your hats; where are they? I had to quit sharing my location with you on Google Maps because I couldn’t take seeing your face every time I launched the app.

It told me you were home. It lied.