So Craig was a big writer of notes. He left them for me all the time, often folded up intricately like origami. He left them for me in my locker at school, in my purse, on the counter, the nightstand, and everywhere in between. Sometimes they were as simple as a "gone to the store, be back soon" and other times several pages in length discussing everything from God, to love, to life and death.
These notes and letters have been a huge source of comfort for me. I re-read them constantly. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they make me sigh with longing.
There is something about your best friend's words, written in their own childlike pen, that can cut you to the core and remind you of the person they really were.
I have been trying to carefully select letters and notes that I can share (yes, being the adoring husband he was, many are not safe for the eyes of children... ha ha). I wanted to start with one Craig wrote to me several years ago. Sometimes he dated them, sometimes not. This one was from before we were married, when he still used to drop me off at mom and dad's every night, walking me to the door, loitering until he got his kiss goodnight.
In typical Craig fashion he started this note with a hand-drawn comic strip featuring Craig the Superhero out to rescue his lovely lady in the world's most badass red Ford tempo. He then went on to talk about a book he was reading and some insight he pulled from it.
A couple pages later, he went on to say:
"Take for example me not telling you I started reading this book. For no apparent reason I had it in my head I wasn't going to tell you until I was done. Whether to surprise or impress you, I don't know."
"Then this occurred to me: what if I had a heart attack 2 pages from the end of the book? We never would have had the opportunity to explore and elaborate on the ideas I had because you never even knew I cracked the cover."
"Which brings me to my next point. I love you. Even when I don't tell you, I want you to know that I think about saying it. Sometimes when we are just about to hang up the phone or when I walk you to the door I want to tell you but I don't. The reason for that is I know you love me and you know I love you. It's not like you don't mean it, but if it's in the moment and spontaneous then it becomes more romantic."
"I'm scared one day I will go to work and die. Not scared I'll die, just that the last thing I told you was 'goodbye' and not 'I love you'. I always want you to remember that - how I'm thinking and feeling the need to tell you but realize you already know."
For those of you who don't already know, Craig and I had coffee every morning together. This was a tradition that started around 5 years ago and something we made a point of no matter what. He often worked shift work and so he would get up, exhausted or not, and sit with me for 15 - 20 minutes to have coffee and talk since it was often the only guaranteed time of the day we had together.
The morning of the accident Craig didn't have to start work until 9:30am. I had to leave by my usual 6:30am. For the first time in years, I put on the coffee (usually Craig's job) and tried to coax him out of bed with a steaming mug. For reasons unknown, he was just more interested in staying curled up in bed that day. He apologized and begged me to let him sleep just a few more minutes.
I was annoyed.
I hated starting my day off on the wrong foot.
No coffee with Craig = the wrong foot.
As I was leaving, my hand rested on the doorknob, and I yelled out a goodbye to him. Craig moaned a 'goodbye' from the room. I actually paused for a moment, considering shouting out an 'I love you' as well but thought I better just let him sleep.
True to Craig's note, he left for work and died.
True to Craig's note, his last words to me were 'goodbye' and not 'I love you'.
What I wouldn't give to go back in time and kiss him, pull him out of bed, and whisper that I loved him. What I wouldn't give to have him hug me, hold me, and tell me he loved me too.
The pain of this is almost too much. I have agonized over it again and again and again.
And then I found this note.
And got to hear him say it anyway.
And it's almost as good because I can re-read it over and over and over.
So Craiggie, I love you too, even if I didn't always say it.
And I know you loved me too.