March 11, 2017

I can’t sleep. I never sleep. Not more than two hours. Beau is going to talk at Luke’s service. He’s been working on it for a couple days. He is nervous because he knows he is going to cry. I tell him he doesn’t have to do it but he says he needs too since he is the oldest.

I am up in the middle of the night and I sit down and start to write Luke a letter. I write this letter and know that I have to read it at his service. I am nervous and I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.

His service was by invitation only. I don’t want random people showing up. We have about 80 people who all loved Luke.

Beau gets up and speaks and he struggles through tears. It was so hard watching him break down. He talked about how close they were and how he could tell Luke anything.

It was my turn to read my letter. I walked up and started crying so bad I walked back to my seat. Beau walked me back up there and stood next to me. I read my letter and I don’t know how I made it through.

A love letter to my husband:

When I was 13 years old me and my mom were driving down the street. I looked out the drivers window and saw this tall, skinny guy with cropped hair and a red ripped up t-shirt with shorts on standing in a garage looking towards a field. Everything went quiet and slow. I saw you I knew you were the boy I was going to marry. I told my mom that I was going to marry you and she told me to stop being ridiculous.

I got your number and I called you and asked you a million questions. You hung up and the next thing I knew you were knocking at my door because you wanted to see who this crazy chick was that called you. We became really good friends. We rode the school bus together every day. You usually came over to my house everyday after school to hang out. We would steal my mom’s cigarette butts out of the ashtray and smoke them. We went swimming together all summer. Me and you and Daisy and Austin hung out that entire summer. We drank two liter bottles of wine coolers and whatever ever else we could get our hands on. We partied in that 6×6 hole you and Austin dug into the ground. I had never gone to public school before and you told me that on your first day of school as a freshman your pants were stolen and you had to ride the bus home in your boxers. I was so scared and you thought that was hysterical.

I really liked you but we were just friends. When we were 15 you and I were walking down the street and I asked you how come you never asked me to be your girlfriend. You said because when we got together it was going to be forever and we were too young for that right now. I was ok with that.

You started doing pools with Clint and John and I didn’t see you a lot over the next year. I got a job at the pizza place and I hung out with my girlfriends and I dated boys and I had fun while you worked. Until the day you walked into the pizza place and asked if I wanted to hang out that night. I didn’t think anything of it. A bunch of us went back to my house to sit in the jacuzzi. I went out to the garage to get my bathing suit and you followed me out and asked if you could kiss me and that was the beginning of the next 30 years.

We had a lot of ups and downs but we always loved each other. You were always funny and the life of the party and there is a sweet side to you that a lot of people didn’t know. When we were teenagers and neither of us had a car, you took me to breakfast in a taxi. You also carved “I love you” into a bar of soap and gave it to me in a red box. You always made me feel safe. You loved me and I miss you so much.

I miss when we went to bed and you would ask “How much do you love me?” I would say something like “I love you to infinity” and we would try and out do each other. And if you had made me mad that day, when you asked me how much I loved you I would say “I love you too the dresser and back” and that always made you laugh. And for 30 years we did that stupid thing where when one of us wasn’t expecting it we would try and slam the other ones hand into the head board. I was rarely ever able to get you but you got me every single time and it always sent me into peels of laughter and I would giggle until I feel asleep.

I miss your spur of the moment craziness. Like the time you called me from the tattoo shop and told me you were getting my name tattooed on your neck and I said do not put anything on your neck and I knew you would do it anyway so I had to pack up the kids and rush down there and we walked in right when they were putting the needle to your neck. I was able to talk you into putting it on your chest. So I was really furious when you came home with a star on your neck. I told you it looked like the Carl’s Jr star and I was crying and yelling. The kids thought it was all hysterical and they were laughing. That was typical Luke, so impulsive.

I came home from work one day and you had “love” across the knuckles on one hand and “Bama” across the other. I was horrified that you did that to your hands but you were so proud that you did that for me. Because you loved me. And I loved that you did that for me.

You never did well in situations you couldn’t control but you did your best. When I found out I had cancer it was a long, silent drove home in the dumping snow. You were driving and you had your hand on my leg the entire time. You told me “I wish that I could put you in a box and keep you safe from the world so that nothing bad could ever happen to you again”. You loved me and your boys and Bubba so much.

The night before you died you held my head in your hands and you told me that I was the best mom ever, the best wife ever and that I was the only woman and the last woman that you ever loved and that I was the most beautiful woman in the world.

That’s the memory you left me with. You were “solid steel and sex appeal” but you were also a big softy. All you ever wanted was to be happy. I miss you.
Til my last day
Til my last breath
I will love you.

March 7th, 2017

11:00pm

I am laying in bed, drifting of to sleep because I have work in the morning. I suddenly feel sick. My head feels funny and my ears plug like I am deep under water. I feel weak. I text my co-workers in our group chat to tell them I feel sick and probably won’t be in the next morning. I take Advil. This lasts about ten minutes then I’m fine.

Wyatt and Rae came home from the grocery store about the same time. They were halfway through shopping when Wyatt had a panic attack so bad they had to leave their cart full of groceries and come home.

4:41am the phone rings.

Me: Hello?

Gilbert : Alabama. I think he’s gone.

Me: Gone ?

Gilbert: Luke isn’t breathing.

Me: Oh my god, do CPR, call 911!!

Gilbert. He’s gone. He’s cold.

I sit up and my feet dangle over the edge of my bed. I know I have to go downstairs and wake up Wyatt and Drew, my 21 and 19 year old sons. I have to tell them that their dad is dead.

Wyatt, my 21 year old, his wife Rae and my two grandkids moved in three months ago when Luke left. Luke, my husband, the father of our three sons, the man I have been with since I was 16 years old, is gone. I had asked him to leave because I wasn’t going to watch him kill himself. I was hoping he would change, but not my Luke. Full throttle until his last breath.

I walk into Wyatt’s room. I whisper his name but he doesn’t wake up. I don’t want to turn the light on and wake the baby so I walk out and go into Drews bedroom. He is only 19 years old and I have to tell him his dad is dead. I walk in and turn his light on. He sits up. I say his name. “Drew”.

He says “ It’s dad, isn’t it”.

I shake my head yes. I can’t talk through my tears.

He says “He’s dead, isn’t he.” It wasn’t a question. I say yes. He yells “we knew this was going to happen “. He sounds angry. As I walk out I see him lower his head and cry.

I turn the light on and sit at the dining room table. I am numb. Tears are falling out of my eyes and they won’t stop. Drew calls my oldest son, Beau, and tells him. He also wakes up Wyatt and Rae. We are all falling apart, quietly.

Beau tells Drew that him and Autumn are jumping in their truck and leaving Montana for home. I’m relieved. I need all of my boys with me.

My cell phone rings and I answer. It’s a medic and he is asking me