Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Dear Kevin: Some thoughts on love and grief four years on

(c) Jason Walker
Dear Kevin,

I couldn’t sleep last night, knowing that I would wake into today and yet… here I am. I can’t believe it’s been four years since you died. For that matter it’s sometimes hard to believe that you died at all. How can the planet continue to turn without you? I still love you. I always will. Four years of change and yet no time at all. 

I am writing this from Minnesota. I live here now. Yes, it is cold. You would hate the winter, but you would love the depth of the cold nights and the intensity of summer. It’s as if, knowing it will be brief, summer decides to be as sultry and full of light as it possibly can while it’s here. Kind of like you. You weren’t here long enough, yet in that time you warmed more people and shone more brightly than a dozen others.

You loved me so well I learned to love myself. You loved me so well I wasn’t able to give up on the world when you died, as much as I wanted to. 

You knew this would be the best path. Love is in my nature so I love and am loved, even as I am sometimes composed of cobwebs and twigs. Charley is a wonder, just like you were/are a wonder, though in different ways. He has room for me and you both in his heart, knowing you are a part of me. He is somehow able to make room for my love for you without feeling as if that impacts my love for him. I know I wouldn’t have been able to accept this indescribable gift had you not told me to, had I not known you wanted me to love and live again, had I not known that part of what you love/d about me is that I love the world. I like to think the two of you would be friends, that you would talk about Deep Space Nine and Doctor Who. That you would both bemoan my stubbornness and smile at my foibles while I glare, then we would sit down and eat together, both of you passionate about pizza and barbecue. 

I still have moments of gut-wrenching grief, those times when I feel nauseous with your absence, but as often as not, I remember your light. I wish I remembered with more clarity; you sometimes have that patina of memory, which underscores that it’s been four years. Four years. How can that be? In the early days after you died, I began to keep lists of thing I didn’t want to forget about you, too intimate and homely to cite here in public. I’m glad I made those lists, they are the only part of my journals from those days I read and reread. The rest is too painful, still, but this way I retain some of those details it’s so easy to take for granted and so easy to forget. 

It is so odd that you haven’t seen these glasses or my newer tattoos and that you aren’t here, cheering me on. It can still be confusing and disorienting. Even after four years I still turn to share an observation with you. I still dream  and wake up surprised that you are not by my side. I have moments when I want to ask if you remember so-and-so or such-a-thing, then remember that I cannot, that I am the only one now who has that memory. Sometimes it is very lonely without you, even for the richness in my life.

I do not like that you are a memory but I am grateful that at least you were/are, grateful that I have you to remember. I strive to hold on to that feeling, to let the love and gratitude be greater than the pain, though I can’t always. I am trying.

I have a good life but it often doesn’t feel like it’s my life. I am on a divergent path. I take comfort from the thought that somewhere there is a universe where you and I are still together, laughing until we cannot stand, working together, loving together, living together. I take comfort from the thought that my cells hold the memory of yours. 

For all of the pain, I am so lucky. 

Love is the only infinite commodity I know of and I strive to be profligate in my love, to give it away with abandon and to accept it with joy. Thank you for teaching me that. Oh Kevin, I love you. I always will. That is what I know most of all, four years out. It still hurts like hell, I would still undo it if I could (complicated though that would be) but the love endures. Love wins. 

I remain, always, your


(c)2018 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Blessed be the ones that are able to love, for theirs is the kingdom of everything.

  2. You capture the essence of life - and of life after death. Thank you for sharing Kevin and your forever love as well as sharing Charley. Very special people, all of you. BIG HUGS!

  3. Beautiful, Laura. Thanks for sharing so honestly and open-heartedly. - John

  4. Lovable story it was really beautiful and pure. Thank you for sharing your story to us. Keep sharing.
    Here is my post link for what is true love


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