Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writer's Workshop Wednesday ~ Jennifer from The Hoare, with An Open Letter To My Dead Husband

Welcome to Writer's Workshop Wednesday! This is my way of paying it forward to all the people out there who want to start writing, but don't have their own blogs yet, or who are established writers that are looking to appeal to a different audience. I have also opened this up to those who would like to post anonymously about topics that are too difficult to write about publicly. Each week, I will host one or two posts by different writers.

I hope that you enjoy this series, I hope you find some new writers to follow, I hope this helps them out and I hope we can all learn something from them.

Today's post is from someone I just had the pleasure of "meeting" for the first time online last week. Jennifer writes at The Hoare. You can find her on Facebook here and on her blog here

She sent this to me, and I was instantly drawn in by her words. She lost her husband in 1999. Grief is such an important part of life. Here, she shares with you all this vital part of her story. This is beautiful and real. Thank you, Jennifer, for this.

With love and respect, Jennifer. 

Open Letter To My Dead Husband

Dear Dead Husband,

I can recall a time when I counted the number of days that had passed since the rainy September morning when you cried out for me before finally letting go of your ever-weakening grasp on your cancer-riddled life. Eventually, it was easier to transition to counting weeks, and then months. And now, I count the years.

Next month will mark the 14th anniversary of your death. I find this nearly impossible to wrap my brain around. In so many ways, it seems that I should still be in the day counting stage of my grief, as I don’t know how much headway I’ve really made since your departure. I still feel as if you could still walk through the door, or ring me up on the telephone.

Of course, I’m remarried now, so this would make for quite the awkward situation.

Yet, I find myself clutching to you by a thread, not wanting to let go lest our brief and wonderful life together unravel, and leave me with nothing but photographs reminiscent of who we once were. And while it’s true that I’ve moved on, I have never really accepted that you are, in fact, dead.

I’ve kept you alive in myriad ways. At first, it was by refusing to rid our closet of your clothing. For months, your shoes sat by our front door, waiting for you to casually step into them. Or perhaps, metaphorically I was waiting for someone else to step into them. As years passed, the shoes went unfilled, and the clothing was eventually donated, (however, I still have your favorite Tommy Hilfiger dress shirt hanging behind my winter coat. You know, the plaid one that we bought on a trip to Orlando for our honeymoon).

I’ve kept you alive with the photographs around the house that my current husband so understandingly tolerates. I’ve kept you alive through silent conversations that we often have when I’m lying in bed at night before I drift off to sleep, hoping that you’ll show up in my dreams. You seldom do.

Mostly, I’ve kept you alive by projecting the relationship we once shared onto every man that has entered my life in the last 14 years. I’ve unfairly had expectations of my current husband to be the husband that you had been. I expect him to react that way that you would in a bad situation. I expect him to know the right things to say and do, and I've expected him to help me recreate some goddamn fantasy that I still have that marriage. Like it never went away... Like you were just recast, like fucking Darrin from Bewitched.

Dead Husband, I guess the point that I’m really trying to make here is that I really must release that thread and acknowledge that you cease to exist. I need to understand that while I can carry your memory with me every day for the rest of my life, I need to let you rest. My incessant attempts at your revival must exhaust you. Your soul can’t sleep, because I won’t allow it to do so.

Dead Husband, I don’t want you to worry about me anymore; I’m going to be okay. I’m no longer going to fantasize about meeting you in some illusionary afterlife where we spend eternity playing fucking harps, or drinking Heineken while belting out Grateful Dead tunes. I refuse to continue to beckon your assistance for every arbitrary crisis that I encounter. I’m going to let you find peace.

I’m finally going to let you die.

After all, while I’ll never regain the same concept of marriage that I shared with you, I have a new, different marriage now. It’s unfair to punish this wonderful man simply because he isn’t you. I have our children to raise, and a life of my own to carve out, just like you hoped I would.

Dead Husband, I bid thee farewell.


Your Still Grieving Wife


  1. just wow! So very brave. I hope she can do what she vows to, so very moving. Thank you for sharing

  2. Wow.....this one really hit home. I could have written this. My husband passed away in 2004. I too am remarried and am trying to move on. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for allowing me to share.... Melissa, and Molley, thank you for your kind words. And Melissa, I wish you the best, and know all too well how difficult moving on can be. It's a process. I suck at it.

  4. Wow. I have known Jenn for quite a long time but I never knew the pain she was going thru. Thank u Jenn for sharing and letting me get a little closer to you. You are a wonderful mother, a great wife and an amazing friend. I cant wait to see you again! Love u girl.....

  5. I'm all choked up. This was poignant and soooo very, very real. Can I just hug the shit out of you?

    Wow. You rock. I won't pretend to understand completely because it would be a lie. But I did just lose my Dad so I understand grief but it's much different. I can't erase him from my phone or delete his texts or throw some things away or even call the mortgage company. Gah!

    I just adore you and I think you might have just gained a soul sista!


  6. Big hugs always accepted, lovey! And thank you.. I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a parent. Glad ya found me, soul sista! xo

  7. I can relate to so much of this! Big hugs to you, Jennifer!


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