Daniel began the difficult task of cleaning out years of lives spent together. He wanted to stay in his home, but his daughters, Lauren and Mary, had convinced him that it was not a great idea to remain where so many memories lingered. The oldest, Mary, had declared his desire to live alone an “overindulgence” in grief.
Daniel wondered if he had given in too quickly. This home that Sarah and he had built by the canal had become their sanctuary, a place of love and joy. He would surely miss it.
He started in the bedroom, opening the drawer on the bedside table on Sarah’s side of the bed. He paused when he saw the letter addressed to him in her scrawl that had never improved over the years. It was dated five days before she died. He nearly did not read it, deciding to save it for when the pain was less severe, if that were possible, and he was in his new home. But, something in his spirit cajoled him to read it right then, and thank goodness he did. Sarah wrote:
My darling Daniel,
Who would have thought that I would be the one to end our great love adventure? You never exercised a day in your life, except maybe the times we went searching for seashells near the ocean.
I did my yoga daily and exercised religiously, just as the health gurus suggested. You always made fun of me running on the beach with loose laces and tight triumphs, just barely completing my five-mile circuit every day.
If I were there now, we would have a belly laugh at the incongruity of the less athletic one living longer than the more dedicated athlete. But, we always agreed that God has a sense of humor.
My dearest, I know that Mary and Lauren will seek to persuade you to move away from this place, thinking they are doing what is best for you. But you must humbly disagree, for you are someone who needs the healing power that memories bring. I watched you heal from the loss of your mother, as daily you remembered the times spent with her.
I believe our home will do the same for you. The variety of good and bad memories will bring you peace. Sleeping in our bed, lingering there on Saturday morning, thinking of our joyous couplings and the long conversations we loved to indulge in will be balms to your bruised heart.
In time, when you are ready for a new love, and I wish you new love, new adventures, new moments of shared joy, then close the door and don’t look back. Your healing will have already come.
Love Always, Sarah, the wife of your youth.
Daniel wiped the tears from his eyes, amazed at just how well his wife had known him. He went to the linen closet and took out their favorite flowered sheets. He made the bed, sprinkling some of the lavender water that Sarah used to help her sleep on her side of the bed. Then, he laid down in their bed, feeling secure that he had made the right decision to stay.
Fictional story written for the Three Things Challenge, now hosted by Paula Light: letter, seashells, and yoga. Also written for the February Writing Prompt from Putting My Feet in the Dirt: loose laces and tight triumphs. Fandango prompt is Variety. Ragtag prompt is Canal. Word of the Day is Humble. Your Daily Prompt is Overindulgence.