Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dear Rick...

Dear Rick,

You've been gone for 2 years now. I feel as though I've already lived a lifetime without you. And at the same time, it doesn't seem possible that it's been 2 whole years since I last saw your face.

I remember clearly this day 2 years ago. I remember the shock, the pain, the horror, the terror, the indescribable confusion, and the heaviness of the reality that you were in fact gone. I remember what I was wearing when I collapsed on the ground with your suicide note in my hand. I remember the sound of my own frantic voice as I told the 911 operator that my life was changed in a single instant. I remember too much, my brain still triggered at times by the trauma of that day.


So much has happened since I last saw you, Rick. Tumbler made nearly a full recovery from his kidney failure. He didn't die like we thought he would.

I put the house up for sale. Then after six months, I took it off the market and decided to stay a little longer. 

I went back to Maine with my mom last year and showed her all the places we went. 

I got a new job working in Hospice. I drive around all day...and I love it. You'd be shocked. I'm good at it and I learn so much. I also have a lot to share.

I found an amazing man when I wasn't even looking and he loves me. I feel like I won the lottery when I get to drive home to him. We have fun every single day and he helps me live life instead of just exist in it. He's finishing the basement and building a patio out back. He cooks for me. He listens to me. He talks to me. He holds me. He dreams with me. His name is Jeff and he makes me happy.

I painted the house, Rick. The living room is a beautiful gray. The downstairs bathroom is a cool teal. The kitchen is a sun kissed yellowy orange. We have new furniture. The cats didn't ruin it yet. 

There are colored drawings on the refrigerator, Rick. Kids live here part of the time now. Two amazing little girls who make me laugh and ask me to do their hair and ride their bikes with me while I go for a run. 

My parents got an inground pool, Rick. You'd love it. I know you'd be the first one floating on a raft in the sun even if it was only 65 degrees out.


I'm finally learning to play golf. I went to Aruba. I ran a 5K. I became an adjunct instructor at Marywood University graduate school of social work. I went up in a hot air balloon. I got a real Christmas tree for the first time ever. I gave a presentation at Kutztown University about grief and loss after suicide. Downton Abbey ended. 

I still lead the eating disorder support group, but now it's only once per month. I don't visit your mom as much as I used to, because I think it upsets her. Joella is 5 and Harriette is 3 and they're hilarious. Beth got married. So did Libes. So did Lindy. Libes just had a baby girl.

I've seen your brother a few times. In fact, I saw him in Wegmans one Saturday, which was kind of funny and totally unexpected.

My mom has painted so many paintings since you've been gone. I have two new ones I didn't have before. The house definitely isn't as clean as when you were here, but I bought a better vacuum. We planted flowers and a tree out front. The neighbors still look out for me. You still get mail. 

Sometimes, I still have nightmares about what happened. Jeff wakes me up and holds me. Sometimes I still wonder what to keep and what to throw away. Sometimes I still wonder what you'd say if you were here. But usually, I know.

Love, Arielle