Dear Walt,

I was just doing a search in my Gmail and the last days of our Hangout chats came up. I scrolled through then got to the ? I sent you the morning of December 21st and stopped. I was throwing up in bed and needed help and you hadn’t answered when I called out so I texted you thinking you were probably in the garage working already. When I heard your phone’s chat sound, I knew something was wrong. Your phone was still in our room but you were not. You never would’ve left it there after getting up. Also, there was no coffee on my nightstand which there would’ve been if you’d gotten up. It’s hard to think about that morning. It always will be.

Today I’m attempting the 1-3-5 To Do list I mentioned yesterday. The 1 thing will be the words. ALWAYS. That’s no different now than before December 21st happened. Today’s 3 are phone calls I need to make. I’m not a phone call person as we’ve established but all of these are house repair related so they’re must-do. We’re at the point where we can’t continue with the master suite until we get the tub installed. Ergo, a tub phone call then no doubt a visit to the showroom again. I’ve got a two-day window this week with no rain so this has to be done since I don’t need to be driving in the rain. I could do it but the limited visibility thing makes it a bad idea.

As far as the 5 easy tasks… I’ve got plenty of options there: timed sessions for filing, cleaning out my office closet, listening to videos of publishing related courses, brainstorming further into my work in progress, etc. So, yeah. It’s not like I don’t have things to keep me busy and I’ve been really good about not turning on the TV until early evening. It’s not even TV really since the big set isn’t connected to anything but WiFi and Roku. I’m watching Longmire again from the beginning, enjoying the character development that’s easier to see happen when bingeing. I have no idea what’s happening in politics because you’re not here to keep me informed. I know the Olympics are in progress; our daughter and son in law are watching some on the TV they hooked up downstairs in the cement-floored living room empty of all but a donated loveseat.

I wonder often if the house would be finished now had December 21st not happened. One of the phone calls I need to make is to someone who has offered help. It would be great to have it with the floors. I need to order the planks first but a small crew could do it all in a day. I’ve been researching fireplace surrounds and tile since I totally forgot that has to be done. I also forgot about the dining room shutters. These are small things you and I had never talked about.

Life would be so much easier if the weather would clear up and my related migraines would go away. At least I now recognize the signs and take meds as prescribed. Oh how you hated seeing me sick. Our son in law’s allergies are flattening him, too. And our daughter is suffering, though it’s her asthma riled up by the flip-flopping weather that has trees budding too soon and pollen aggravating us along with the construction dust still in the house. There’s less of that now and it’s easily cleaned but we’re all feeling like crap so it’s hard to make forward progress.

It would be so much easier, too, if you were here. We’re not as rudderless as we were originally but there are so many things we’re having to struggle through. You would’ve struggled through, too, but it always seemed so effortless when you did it. I Google and Reddit and YouTube but don’t always find what I need. Because what I need is you. The house is only part of it, an extension of everything else you knew and did.

I need you here sitting in your chair in my office finding out everything wrong on the Internet while I binge watch British crime dramas on my Kindle. I need to look up and see you. I need to walk by and touch you. I need you to walk by and touch me. Those are the moments I most miss. The nothing moments. The everything moments. The tactile reminder of what we shared, of being here for each other, of loving each other. The silent communication that spoke loudly about what our marriage meant to us both. What it still means to me. What it will mean to me forever as I wear your ring and sleep with your shirts and live in this house, our house, the one we bought together that gave us such joy to come home to.

But not as much joy as I felt every time I came home to you.