I drove past your old house today before I started my 8 hour drive back to NC. Well, let me tell you that just set me up for the whole ride to be filled with water works! I just wanted to go up to the door and ask to go inside for a minute. I would have if the house still had the same furniture and the same smell, but it doesn't and I didn't want those memories tainted. I miss those days, the beginning of "Tommy and Katie."
When you died everything bad that happened between us died, too. I've had a few people try to remind me of those times, and really it took everything in me not to tell them what I really thought at that moment! I don't think about the bad things, the painful things that we went through. There is no point and I have no negative feelings about anything from the past. It's all gone and has been erased. I do have a hard time thinking about the good things from the last few years, though. Those memories-- the good ones-- they hurt the most right now. They make me sadder than anything else because we should still be living those memories.
So, I think about the beginning, which to me is everything until Iraq. I think about Tommy and Katie when they were still kids and carefree and fun was the number one thing on their minds. Yes, I know, I'm talking about us in the third person because it was so long ago and in another life that they lived and were happy. I remember them that way so that it doesn't hurt as bad. Besides, it doesn't even feel like that was my life anymore. It really feels like it was someone else. We WERE different people back then. I wish we could go back to those people, THAT Tommy & Katie! They had their whole lives ahead of them. Even when they weren't together it was "Tommy & Katie" who they thought about, who held their future.
I was thinking about when we went to see "The Others" and I was sitting in between you and Rob. At that point I didn't know he liked Jenn and he didn't know I liked you and I wanted to hold your hand SO bad, but I couldn't. I kept talking to you, though and you were amazed that I had the movie figured out so early on. That's one thing that eventually annoyed you about watching movies with me. I can have almost any movie figured out in the first 20 minutes, but back then it was intriguing to you.
As I drove down Old Baltimore Pike today I thought about how I got a speeding ticket on the way to your house all those years ago. Rob and I were about to pick you up to go to the race track and I was in a hurry to get there (to your house, not the race track). He told me to slow down, but I didn't. We went to the track and like usual I was really good at picking the winners, but I'd only bet a dollar or two. I'm pretty sure it was that day you put a couple of bucks down and then threw out your winning ticket by accident. It was really funny to see your face...
You know Jenn and Rob came to your viewing. I haven't seen them in years. I'm really glad they came; it meant a lot to me, but it was really hard to see them. They've been together since you and I dated the very first time. They were meant to be, and you know what Tommy? So were we. We both know that. That's not where I should have seen them after all these years, walking up to me to tell me how sorry they were along with everyone else that day. It should have played out something like we were up in Delaware and we said, "Hey, how about we all go out to dinner or for drinks to catch up?" We would have laughed about old times and talked about all the years in between. But that's not the case. Somehow seeing them, seeing your old friends, it's helping to hold onto the past. Well, the part of the past that I can live in right now.
The drive home today was so hard. It's still hard. I can't seem to stop crying. I spent 4 weeks ago today trying to get you to not take your life and trying to figure out what to do next. I wonder how long it'll last where every week is measured by counting X number of weeks ago I tried... And on Monday's-- X number of weeks ago I failed. I wish I could say that I'm all cried out for the day, but somehow I just don't think the tears are going to stop any time soon.
I was talking to God today and said that I hoped you were resting with Him in heaven. I saw a sign that said "Vote THOMAS Ernest." So I was thinking God can You give me a... and at that very moment I saw a sign that said "SIGNS." But I told God that I was thinking it not saying it, could he give me another sign. I saw the "Vote THOMAS Ernest" sign again. I still wasn't convinced, so a minute later I saw a billboard that was for Continental Health Care Systems or something like that and it was an ad that read "You were wonderful to us when Tom passed. --Shirley Kelly, Havelock" And right after that another billboard that said "In God we trust. United we stand." Now, all of that could mean absolutely nothing, but since I'm looking for signs I'm going to take it to be a sign...
I still think about the moment that I knew for sure we would always be together, that No Matter What we would end up together. It was September 12, 2004. It was a Sunday and your last day of leave after boot camp. We had spent the day together and went out to eat at McGlynn's. We got kicked out of there because I bought you a beer and you weren't 21 yet. You made a smart ass comment about how you can go to war and fight for your country, but you couldn't drink a beer. The bar tender relaxed a bit when you said that and he agreed, but said that he had to make us leave anyway. It was that night when we were in the "infamous Bagosy basement" where so many good times took place in that "I KNEW." Even as I sit here crying I still get the biggest smile of my face when I think about it. All of a sudden you just stopped, kissed my forehead, and looked so deeply in my eyes. Your eyes never lied and your eyes held our future. I held back tears, but I couldn't hold back that smile. It was a smile of satisfaction and excitement because I KNEW in that moment that my dreams were going to come true. I knew in that moment that in the end it would be "Tommy & Katie forever." Forever wasn't supposed to end 5 years and 8 months later. That wasn't what I saw. That's not the way "Tommy & Katie" were supposed to end. That is one of my most precious memories of you Tommy and it destroys me to know that all I have now are memories from the past with no hope of memories for the future.
Miss you more than words and tears can express,