Letters to the Lost
Letters to the LostLetters to the Lost
It’s amazing the things you find while moving. You go through everything. Packing what you need, getting rid of what you don’t. You find things you thought you’d never see again, and things you forgot even existed. Sometimes you even find things that change your entire life.
My name is Madeline. I am nineteen years old today, and I’m going through everything in this house that my mother, stepfather, and I shared. My mother recently passed, and my stepfather is moving back to Iowa. Therefore, it’s my job to clean the house, and pack our belongings.
My mother had been sick ever since my father died, fourteen years ago. I was only five when he died. My mother missed him something terrible. She always told me stories about him. She even kept a journal in which she wrote to him. She never let me see that journal, but she promised me that one-day when I was old enough to understand she would give it to me.
She passed before she could give me the journal, but while cleaning out the house, I found it. It’s just a simple black journal with the words “Letter’s to the Lost” carved into the cover. I hope reading it helps me understand what my mother was going through the last fourteen years. Here goes…
January 6th, 1991
To my love,
The memories of you are getting harder to remember. Your once beautiful face is blurred in my mind. It upsets me that I can’t remember the exact placement of yourhighest when you smiled. The wounds in my heart are now scars, healed, but dimples, or which way your mouth curved up the never forgotten. All the pictures and significant holdings of you burned with the house. It seems like I’ve lost every part of you. The only evidence of your existence is the memories. They tell me forgetting is impossible, but it’s starting to feel as though I’ve already forgotten quite a bit.
I don’t cry as much anymore, and the tears never linger for more than a few moments. I miss you all the time, but the only time I really remember is when I’m with our friends. When we talk about those days we don’t say your name. It’s like an unspoken rule between us. Saying your name brings back the pain. We all wish this wouldn’t have happened.
January 9th, 1991
To my love,
Our little girl’s birthday was yesterday. Sweet little Madeline, she misses her daddy. I told her to make a wish when she blew out her candles, she wished for you. She said, “I wish my daddy would come home.”
Your mom cried, and your dad just got up and walked to the barn. He’s taking it hard, worse than the rest of us. He wouldn’t let them take your truck to the junkyard. It sits in the barn, your dad refuses to let any of us see the damage. He keeps the barn door padlocked.
After the wreck your dad is the one who identified your…you. He is the only one other than the paramedics to see you. He said you were bad off, so we had you cremated. You always told me you didn’t want to be put in a box and buried in the ground. You always were free spirited so it didn’t surprise me.
January 10th, 1991
To my dearest,
Madeline free spirited and wild just like you. She looks a lot like you. Asks about her daddy every now and again. She asked me, “If there is a god then why did he take my daddy away?” I didn’t know how to answer her. Sometimes I wonder the same thing.
January 12th, 1991
To my love,
We all went out last night. He feels so bad. He knows how much you loved me, and how much I loved you. He isn’t trying to take your place; he’s just trying to help me. I hope you understand that just because I love him doesn’t mean I ever stopped loving you. He was your best friend, and he is just doing what he thinks is right. He’s taking care of Madeline and me.
He prays every night, he prays that you don’t hate him, and for your forgiveness. He wants you to know he loves Madeline and me. He takes care of her well. Tells her bedtime stories every night. The stories are always about you. I sit by the door and listen. Sometimes I laugh, and sometimes I cry.
January 14th, 1991
To my dearest,
I miss you. I miss your smile, and your laugh. I miss your hugs, they were always my favorite thing. I want to remember every little detail about everyday we had together, but I can’t. I want to hang on to you forever.
January 15th 1991
I’m not sure I can do this without you anymore. No matter how much I love him; I’m not in love with him the way I was with you. I’m starting to wonder about things I shouldn’t, playing out impossible scenarios in my head. I think back to the first time we made love and wonder if that really meant anything to you. Were you just using me back then? What about all those days you spent with her, did they mean as much to you as my days with him meant to me? Had she not have killed herself would you have chosen her over me? Best to leave the truth alone this time.
Lost without you,
January 17th, 1991
To my dearest,
I’m alone today. He took our little girl trail riding. She loves riding horses so very much; I’m sure they won’t be back until sunset. So that leaves me alone in this house all day. You know, its days like this when I’m alone that I feel how weak I’m getting. I know I have to be strong for Madeline, but I find myself losing touch with reality more often now than ever before. He tries to help me, and keep me happy, but it’s just not the same.
With all my heart,
January 18th, 1991
To my love,
I’m going to the doctor today. I haven’t been feeling well; I think I’ve got that new flu virus that has been going around. I can’t keep anything down, and sleep is nearly impossible.
January 23rd, 1991
I’ve been wondering about something. Is she with you up there in Heaven? Do you guys fly through clouds of passion and joy? Is she happier there than she was here? Do you ever miss me, or think about me? What about your daughter? Or is she enough to keep your mind away from everything you left behind? If she hadn’t of killed herself would we have even been together? Would we have this beautiful little girl? Would you have died in that crash, been on that road, or have been in this town had you been with her? I don’t think you would have.
Unsure of everything,
January 24th, 1991
I’m sorry I ever doubted your love for me. There is no doubt in my mind now that you loved me with all that you were. You loved us both. Just as I loved both you and him. We both loved another before we loved each other, but we loved each other better. We healed what was left of each other’s shattered hearts, and we found a love between us they could have never given us. We knew so well what we needed, and we knew what we had been through. We saved, and salvaged, mended, and healed. We belonged to each other from the first time we seen each other. God just had plans for us before he brought us together. I think we were meant to be one of those pure, last forever, true loves, rare and beautiful, the way God intended us to be. After he made you, he just knew he had to make me.
February 3rd, 1991
To my dearest,
I’m sorry I haven’t written you in awhile. Your mom is very sick. I’ve spent the last two weeks with her. I couldn’t bear to leave her just to get my journal. I’m afraid we are going to lose her. She was brought to the hospital because of a stroke. She can’t remember anyone’s name. The doctors say her memory should come back though.
February 6th, 1991
Your mom is back home. She doesn’t talk to any of us; she sits and talks to you all day. She tells you stories about when you were younger, and how much little Madeline reminds her of you. She speaks nothing of the rest of us.
February 10th, 1991
Valentines Day is almost here. Remember the Valentines Day the year before Madeline was born? You woke me up early and we drove to the middle of the field to watch the sunrise. That day you told me that you were sorry you took my dreams away from me, and that you would do anything you could to make up for that. Well you didn’t take my dreams away from me, because my junior year of high school my dreams changed. I sat in class and thought… “My dream isn’t to attend the University of Texas at Austin anymore. My dream is to marry that boy and have a family.” You didn’t take my dream away from me; you made it come true.
February 14th, 1991
To my love,
I have compiled a list of things I love and miss about you. I did this to help me remember you. First of all, I love your ears, you always hated how they stuck out, but I loved them. Secondly, your smile, a smile that always reached your eyes. It crooked to one side; it was silly, and ever so playful. It lit up your entire face. Third, your voice, so unique, it was a voice I enjoyed hearing everyday. Fourth, your kisses, so amazing, they always took my breath away. Last but not least, your personality, so fun loving and kind. Happy Valentines Day.
With all my love,
February 25th, 1991
To my sweet,
I’ve decided to rebuild our house. The farm and house were everything to you, so the house being built will be exactly like the old one. It’s just awful that the original house burnt down, and took so many memories with it.
February 27th, 1991
Why did this happen? Why does God take those so close to heart? Your poor dad is so lost. He has been in the hospital with her all day; he didn’t call and tell me until a few hours ago. I took Madeline to my dads. I didn’t want her to know what’s happening yet.
Your mom had another stroke this morning; she was rushed to the hospital. She was doing better for a while, and then she just passed out. Now she is on life support, and has no brain activity. The doctors are saying there is no possible way for her to recover, but your dad refuses to turn off the machines yet. He keeps saying that she is a fighter and will come through. I think she was ready to go. She just wanted to be with you. Just the other day she told me life was barely worth living without you. Is she with you now? Because I know she is no longer here.
With all my love,
February 28th, 1991
To my love,
I’ve been thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t have the house rebuilt, and maybe I should move out of here. I’d like to think that you would want young Madeline and I to start fresh, away from all the pain. I just don’t know what to do. All our memories are here, and if we leave all we will have are the memories in our heart.
I’m afraid if we leave that Madeline will forget. I never want her to forget you, but she’s still young. In a few years it will be hard for her to recall certain things, and she won’t have a reminder of them. Where as if we stay she can look out her window at the barn and think my daddy taught me how to feed the cows there. Or look at the swing you built in the backyard and think my daddy built that for me, and pushed me so high I thought I was flying.
It’s so hard without you. I feel like every decision I make is the wrong one, and I second-guess myself constantly.
March 10th, 1991
I’m sorry I haven’t written in quite sometime. I haven’t had a lot of time. This is the last page in my journal. These letters started as a way for me to stay connected to you, but I think it’s time I move on. This doesn’t mean I no longer love you, because I will love you for the rest of my life. I will be with you one day, but I fear that by then you will be with her. I don’t think it would bother me. I know how much you loved her. Maybe we were just meant to have each other long enough to have little Madeline.
Madeline is something magical. She’s an angel brought here from heaven. She will forever be a reminder of how much we loved each other. I think that you would want this from me. Want me to move on, and make a new life for myself. Madeline, him, and I talked about it together, and we all agree that my family farm in Texas would be a great place for us. Since my uncle passed there hasn’t been anyone to tend to it, and I think it would be nice to live there. So no rebuilding the house here, no more writing letters, and no more talking to a vase of ashes. I’m giving your ashes to your dad. Don’t ask what made this change come about, because I don’t really know. I guess I just don’t want Madeline to see me like this anymore. She needs me.
As you know, you died two years ago today, and I started these letters exactly one year after you died. So I guess this is my way of saying goodbye. For this letter here is the last letter I will write to you, and this is the last goodbye I will say to you. Although this goodbye isn’t forever, it’s the end of us. I’ve finally come to that realization. It’s not that I don’t want to write you anymore it’s just time for me to let go, and as this letter drags on longer than it should I realize that letting you go is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I want to make this one letter last forever, but I know that’s not possible. I swear that when I write you, or talk to you, you answer me. Maybe its just wishful thinking or maybe I hear you in my mind because I know what you would say if you were here.
I fear that when the letters stop I will no longer hear you. That one-day even the memories will fade away completely. Maybe I’m not ready to let go, maybe I should…no. It’s time. Even if I don’t want to, I’m ready. I have to get on with my life, for Madeline’s sake, and for his.
So here’s the end. Not only the end of this letter, but the end of us, the end of everything we ever had together, and the end of me. I feel as though I’m breaking into a million pieces, and I’ll never be truly whole again. I will always love you more than anything in this entire world. Goodbye.
After reading this journal I have come to understand what ailed my mother. Depression; it played a huge role in her demise. It’s a sad story, a love story and a tragedy. Like the movies they show on Lifetime. Maybe that’s why my mother was such a fan of Lifetime, she could relate well to the women.
Despite the sadness of this story from what I’ve read I can tell you that my mother and father were very much in love, and I was a blessing to them. I only spent five short years with my father, only one of which I can remember. Just the same, he was my father and I loved him.
I’d like to believe that when my mother arrived at Heavens gates my dad was there waiting for her, but after reading her journal I think that my dad is with the other girl. The one that killed herself when they were in high school. I know that no matter what my mom will wait for my step dad, whether she is with my dad or not. She loved my step dad, he was her first love, and her last love.
Now that I understand my mother better, I believe that maybe I can forgive her. Forgive her for all the times she couldn’t stand to leave the house and come to a school play, or dance recital. Forgive her for making my grandma take me prom dress shopping because she didn’t want to get out of bed. Forgive her for not understanding me, and forgive myself for being mad at my mom all those times. Forgive myself for not seeing that my mother did her very best with what was left of her.
So here’s a prayer to you mom. I hope you found the happiness you lost when dad died, I hope you find that sense of peace that you didn’t find here, and most of all I hope you know I love you. You were a great mom, and you gave your best. I should have realized this before, but better now than never. Good-bye mom.