October 10th, 2021
 
Dear David,
 
I will always love you, but, fuck you for dying on me, man.
 
September 25th would have been our wedding anniversary. Facebook memories fill with wedding photos Sarah and I took with our cameras. Do you remember asking the room service attendant to take our photo? We passed him my canon camera instead of Sarah’s and the look on the poor guy’s face?
 
On a round of insomnia that day, I look through our photos and read out messages to each other and cry. My throat burns with emotion as I sit in the dark. A kitten looks at me with concern, I tell her all about you.
 
Her name is Rocket and is all grey except a little white on the end of her tail. She curls up on the couch under my hand, but when I stop talking she perks up as if to say: “I’m listening, keep going.”
 
Remember when I used to fall asleep to your voice? I am sorry it used to happen. I was never calling you boring or thought what you were saying was unimportant, I hope you know that.
 
Having the conversation with Amanda’s kitten reminds me of Ororo.
 
I had to put Ororo down on May 24th, 2020, the day after your birthday. I know it was for the best but still doesn’t hurt less.
 
What about you? Are you hurting less?
 
There is a photo of my face the moment you told me you were so nervous you couldn’t feel your legs.
 
Do you remember almost losing your wedding band an hour after we walked out of the church as husband and wife?
 
James telling everyone in a two-foot radius who would listen to him that we got married?
 
I remember Sarah and I knocked on the door of a Cotton Ginny. The store wasn’t open yet, but, we forgot shirts that wouldn’t mess up our hair or makeup. I still distinctly remember Sarah’s “hi she’s getting married…” like that explained why were knocking on the security gate asking for help.
 
Every time I wore that shirt after that I thought about it the day I was finally becoming your wife and all the chaos of it. The idea that I would do it over and over again.
 
Fireworks. Champagne. Wedding Cake.
 
Why did you die in your sleep? Can I ask that?
 
Was our marriage so bad, that you decided not to wake up one day? Was life that bad?
 
How come I had to be sleeping?
 
Do you remember the weekend in March when we thought they were going to have to remove your gall bladder? Do you remember the conversation at 3 in the morning? “I swear to all things holy that if you make me a widow at 32, but if you are in that much pain and you need to…” AND YOU SHOOK YOUR HEAD NO! “Nah I got decades of bugging you yet,” You lied to me. Come back here! You owe me decades!
 
Was it because you were trying to protect me in one last act of you being you? If you died while I was awake and had to see you take your last breath.
 
The longest conversation I had with your Dad was about you on the day you died. We went to your mom’s and he picked me up. I told him stories of us. Of you and the man you became and how a lot of the decisions we made were because you wanted to make him proud. He was proud of you. So proud of you. I wish he told you when you were alive to hear it.
 
The sound of your mom’s screams solidified my decision to never becoming a cop or a first responder. I could never tell another parent that their kid died.
 
Erica told me about your mom being in labour in 1983 and you being so tiny. Your mom begging and screaming for them to save you.
 
I am sorry about the bow tie, your sister put you in.
 
Naadia agreed with me that it should have been a batman shirt. Someone would have beat me, but it would have been worth it.
I am sorry you weren’t buried wearing your glasses? Could you see?
 
Did you see your grandparents? I know they died before you were born, but I was wondering if you would somehow know them?
 
Is Ororo with you now? Are you still cuddling on the couch wrapped in that blue comforter? Is the couch red like the one on Callowhill drive?
 
Is my Nanny still trying to feed your Cheesies?
 
We lost a lot of celebrities since you have been gone, I bet the concerts are AMAZING! Did you finally see Prince in concert?
 
I hear When Doves Cry on the playlist at work and I can see you in my mind’s eye jamming out.
 
It is still difficult to sleep in a Queen sized bed and not reach out for you in a half groggy state. I know that maybe I am grabbing for empty pillows and space, but maybe just this once…
 
Would you recognize me if I were to see you again? Would you still be in love with the person I needed to become to survive your death and the years after it?
 
Did you get to greet your brother? Your mom lost two kids in one year, I can’t imagine what that would do to a person. No, we still aren’t talking. Yes, I have tried. Honestly.
 
Dating is difficult, I keep comparing everyone to you. Not always out loud, but in my head. I am sorry that I have made the decision to be open to dating someone. Being lonely is difficult, being without you is more so.
 
Sarah got married and had a baby! A little girl that I know you would love and adore almost as much as she does. Sarah sends me photos of her and she might be my favourite human. It is funny how you can love someone without meeting them yet. Sarah will send me a photo and I can see you gush and fawn over her, I can see you trying to find a stuffed planet to send to her. I don’t know why it would most likely be Saturn, but it is you. Please don’t ever change.
 
Do you think we would be parents ourselves by now? I never wanted kids until I realized they would be your kids and I couldn’t wait to make you a Dad. I know we were struggling with fertility, but sometimes I wonder if you ever would have gotten that experience of the daughter “who looks just like her mama…” I don’t regret anything in our marriage. Except that.
 
Would I still be in Toronto? Do you think I would have convinced you to move out of Toronto? Ontario?
 
I got on a plane in May. ME. A PLANE. I kind of liked it, but I did threaten to walk and Lindsay had to talk me out of it. “I can walk to Halifax.” “Get on the plane!” Thank God for AirCanada staff and their patience. She is one of the few things I miss in Toronto. You would like her a lot, I think.
 
I have made some good friends. Me! Friends? Who would have thought!?
 
I got waist-deep in the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia, thanks to a new friend. I would have paid to see your face, I know you wouldn’t have come in, but I would have loved sleeping beside you on the hot sand. I don’t have to close my eyes to see you sitting in the sandbar with me as I try to dig holes and watch the water fill them up. Marvelling at the texture on my fingertips. Planning more trips we could never go to to see more beaches I can dig holes in and watch fill up.
 
The Ocean. The saltiest thing on the planet except for me, haha.
 
You know every so often “I am blue” by Eiffel65 pops up on Spotify and I still roll my eyes but sing along. I still argue that the lyrics are “if I were green I would die,” do I believe it or do I just like arguing with you? (I’ll never tell…) since you’re dead does this mean I win the argument? Is that how that works?
 
I almost died in August on the anniversary of your death and not at my own hand (go me!) – A chance event would have left me dead on the floor of the office of the commercial kitchen I worked in for a brief time.
 
I don’t talk about it and no one asks.
 
I don’t talk about feeling ready, or warm. I don’t talk about reaching for you or seeing you. Or the anger/sadness/disappointment of still being here when I was so close.
 
Later, one of the guys asked me “who’s David? At one point you were calling for David but we didn’t know how to contact him.”
 
“I don’t know how to tell you that David died a few years ago…”
 
“Oh. I want to hug you is that okay?”
 
“Sure.”
 
Why am I still here? I can’t explain the idea of being able to see you. To reach out for someone there and not be able to touch them or speak to them. How cruel is that? Was I brought back for a reason? “hey we almost lost you…”
 
Can you tell me why I am still here? Purpose? Mistake? Restart? Cruel Prank?
 
I love you.
 
I am angry with you.
 
Fuck you for dying on me! You dying at 36 isn’t forever! Even though sometimes it feels that way.
 
I forgive you. I think.
 
I miss you. I know.
 
I told my counsellor that I was starting to forget you a little bit and I feel a lot of shame in that. I can’t do things like hear you laugh or voice in my head anymore. If I were forgetting you would I talk to you every day? Would I still be able to tell stories about you?
 
Am I forgetting you or am I starting to mourn and grieve for you differently? Is that okay?
 
I am still sad that you aren’t here.
 
You are still the first person I want to tell when I have something good to tell.
 
You are still the person I seek out a hug from when I have a bad day.
 
In my heart, you will always be that person, even if it means I can’t hear your voice in my ears.
 
You will always still be here, even if you’re not here.
 
– love you, Always. Rainbow.

About 

Donna (they/them) is originally from Ontario Canada but now resides in Nova Scotia Canada. Donna met their husband David when they were 14. Literal best friends and completely inseparable, then that trope happened in rom-coms when they realized there was something more. Together Donna and David navigated life, love, and all the weirdness that comes with it (including a cat). They stumbled through, poverty, unemployment, interracial relationships, and Donna's queerness (and how that redefined things or did it?) and a mental health journey that always seemed ever-changing with nerdy humor that was unique and all them. In August 2018 Donna found David passed away in their bed early one morning, later they found out that there was no cause of death. Now Donna is still trying to navigate life, love, and weirdness all on their own with a little help from their friends, and a whole lot of coffee.