Dear Walt,

Death and taxes. Both are certain. As I was reminded so brutally four weeks ago when December 21st happened. I knew it, of course. I lost my brother unexpectedly in 1987. I lost my mother four months before I lost you. During our marriage, I lost both my grandmothers and your father and my oldest and dearest friend. She passed away last January.

2017 truly was a craptastic year even without Harvey. Harvey just put a weird spin on it. I have very few of your things to go through. Harvey took almost all save for your computer equipment. For now, I’m keeping your Skechers because they always made me smile. A silly thing, I know.

I’m working on our 2016 tax return. Harvey victims who’d filed an extension for last October were given additional time… till 1/31 of this year. I’d started on them in December because I always waited till the last minute; in all of our twenty years together, did I not wait till the last minute? And did you not urge me to have someone else do them? That always made me laugh since I’d done them forever and worked on tax prep in the day job. My organizational skills were all in my head and I think they scared you. Yours definitely scared me but that’s because you didn’t even pretend.

Anyhow, man we ate out a lot that year. Nothing extravagant, though obviously more costly than groceries. But you were well-employed in the oil biz and you enjoyed your own cooking better than mine, ha, so who was I to complain about no dishes to wash or leftovers to store?

It’s hard going through these old receipts, remembering the software you bought to help with the geological development of the world of Icefall where seas had risen thousands of feet. I see other purchases you made, things I’ve forgotten about but which bring up fun memories. At least fun until the melancholia sets in and the missing you fiercely brings the choking tears.

I’m really tired of the tears. I know they’re a part of this whole grief thing but you’ve been gone four weeks today and when the waterworks turn on, they still runs like a rapids-choked river. Hiccups here, breaths hitching there, never smooth sailing, always choppy and ugly and rough.

I factory reset your phone today after renewing your service for another month. I still get calls for you, mostly spam but not all, and the security you put on the phone means I can’t even use it as a drive. I did transfer everything off your SD card. (Let’s be honest: your son did all of this for me so I didn’t eff up and lose more of you.)

The one single video I couldn’t get off, however, is now a memory as so many things are. I had taken it two days before you left. You had set up my old Royal typewriter on a table in our sheetrocked bedroom and were typing on the second Icefall book. You wanted to post it to Tom Hanks who has a thing for old typewriters. And you wanted him to play Elfrith Teach in the Icefall movie.

I’m sorry I couldn’t access the data and do that for you. Your son who knows all things tech tried everything. In the end, I decided you’d be okay with the video being just between us. I’ll post one of the photos you took of the setup for Tom. He should understand.