This is bound to be the dreariest, most sorrowful day of my life. My happiness, my spirit, my everything left when you did. Tears are spilling down my cheeks and all I can think about is how much I need you right now . . .
And so today, I begin waiting. Perhaps I will learn some patience. it's like you said, in so many words--'I'm sure there is some good to come of out of this.' . . . You are priceless to me, Jeff, and now that you are away from me, the memory of your presence is my most valuable possession and until you return to me, I will relive every moment I've ever shared with you--I will feel every touch, hear every word and read every letter all a thousand times because each thing I do will bring me one second closer to having you back with me. I feel so hollow, so lost and so far from the world. I will always love you--you are all I think about, you're all I see and feel and there's not enough words in the world to describe the pain of missing you."
I wrote these exact words in a letter to Jeff on September 26th, 1992--the day AFTER he left for Ireland to study abroad for a year. So, that means he left for Ireland on September 25th, 1992. It's eerie to think that 16 years later--to the day--he would depart again and that I could have written that same letter to him today as I did so many years ago.
On a side note, "eerie" is maybe a little too close for comfort to the Gaelic (Irish) word for Ireland: Eire.
Jeff and I wrote literally hundreds of letters to each other from the time we met on my Dad's birthday (June 9th) in 1989 until we were married on Jeff's birthday (May 21st) in 1994. Jeff put several of the "better" letters in a scrapbook and gave it to me for Christmas several years ago. I was going though it tonight and found the letter quoted above.
I was puzzled as to why Jeff chose September 25th to die. I sensed that he thought he would be dead by September 25th, but I did not understand the significance of that date. In the weeks preceding his death, he had had several visitors offer to visit shortly thereafter (September 25th, October 3rd, etc.) and each time he told them to come sooner--he was afraid the 25th would be too late. As September 25th approached it appeared he was wrong--he had not yet shown evidence of the "active stages of dying" and despite profound and difuse liver tumors he had shown no signs of jaundice or other complications of liver disease whatsoever. He was mentally sharp and was not in a coma. In fact, on the night of the 24th, the hospice nurse told me that his lungs were clear, his heartbeat was strong and that with young people, "their strong hearts can keep them going for a while." So, I was surprised the end came so soon--but not surprised it came on September 25th. Now it seems clear: that is Jeff's preferred day for special departures.
'til next time . . .