Dear Walt,

I was thinking about the photo I posted yesterday, about all the photos I have of you in this house, and how different things will be once the construction is finished and new furniture purchased and the place put back together. It devastates me that you won’t get to enjoy the fruit of all your hard labor, of the planning we did, cussing and discussing flooring and paint.

It will always be the house we shared, the home we loved, but you and I had lost almost all of our material possessions to Harvey before December 21st happened and I lost you, so this new version will mostly be mine. What makes me comfortable. What I’ve always wanted. That along with all the hours of work you put into the construction will make it hard to ever leave.

I’m going to need to sell a LOT of books.

Rebuilding my life without you isn’t going to come with the baggage of memories attached to “stuff.” I have so little to keep that you had touched. Your wedding ring. The few clothing items I’m saving since most don’t have any sentimental value the way your T-shirts do.

Your computer equipment. Speaking of, I ordered a cheap keyboard for your desk since your nice Bluetooth one had gone belly-up and you never told me the one you were using didn’t have a working G. Or H. Or a 6. Those last few days… How did you manage to type, lol? You were already handicapped with two fingers that hadn’t yet healed enough to feel the keys. Or feel me.

Poor baby. You went through so much the last four months. I’m so sorry.

I’m lucky that I was the primary breadwinner the past few years while you bounced between contract jobs in the slumping oil industry. I’m not worried about finances but I still need to sell a LOT of books. I have to hire an attorney to deal with your overriding royalties on several oil leases. Thankfully that monthly check did no more than fill two gas tanks. #irony

I adulted well yesterday. I went on another paint run, this time to Sherwin Williams, and they matched the kitchen paint perfectly. I can’t wait to see my eggplant walls once again. I did some bill paying, found another piece of your digital life I needed to transfer to me. I’m so thankful we weren’t ones for secrets. It’s nice to go into all your accounts and find what I need so easily.

It would be nice if the rest of my needs were so easily met, my questions so easily answered. Did I miss a sign? The day in Sherwin Williams when you felt bad and we left, was that more than the cold you shook off a couple of days later? I know your heart failed you, and felled you. We’d both suspected it eventually would. This wasn’t eventually. This was barely now.

You were so alive, so vital, so energized and busy… Was that it? The stress? The nonstop pace of construction? Of insisting on grocery shopping when I was happy with curbside delivery? Did I not pick up on your body’s signals? Were there no signals? Were we both blindsided?

I don’t dwell on these things; I truly don’t. But once in a while they pop up and destroy me. The butterfly effect… what if we had done one thing differently the day before? Would you be here with me? Would another two decades with you have made this pain worse? Would that last beat of your heart still be years away?