an•guish /aNGwiSH/


1. severe mental or physical pain or suffering.


1. be extremely distressed about something.

Dear Jon,

Anguish. Never was there a more perfect word to describe this state of mind I am in, this trip to deliver and fulfill the third and final request by you to spread your ashes at your family’s fishing retreat in Canada. Your parents, your sister’s son, your children and I will bear witness and share in this journey. 

Jon, did you ever imagine how much this would tear me apart to do this for you? Every time, each of three requests, feeling all of you wash all-over, all of me again, and again, and again? I’m not angry, only reminded in profound ways that you are no longer here every time I say goodbye like it was the first time. In many ways now, I am no longer here, the person you once called your wife, Puskie, and Paula. You never called me babe, or honey, or some stupid, generic cutsie name, and I loved you all the more for that, because you knew exactly who I was, who we were together, but you are no more. 

The ashes have been telling me what to do since you died. I don’t want anyone else to tell me what to do. As a write, every mile driven further north from your hometown is closer to what I have to do. My emotions are heavy, and add weight to everything. I cannot lift my packed bags, I cannot lift your ashes, I cannot lift my legs to get in and out of the car. But all of these burdens I must carry now. I try to fill waking hours with spots of things that make me some form of happy, to blot out those things that make me whimper and tears pour down my cheeks. Our children, Mom, and Dad are helpless bystanders of my anguish, but you are no more.

I am a passenger in this car, and so are you. It is our last ride together. Are you as sad as I am about this? You and I will no longer travel together. I always loved our car trips and travels, all of our adventures, but you are no more. 

Driving through the northern part of Minnesota, I saw a sign for Bemidgi, a town with a funny name I remember from living here, two of the most wonderful years together as a family. Minnesota was a refuge then and a beautiful memory now. We had stopped for gas, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with it all and fully sobbing, my tears made my cheeks raw, I can’t see what’s in front of me, I’m forgetting to breathe. I searched for your hand, but you are no more.

I want control. Not of anyone else, only me. I don’t want to be in this weakened, depleted state for much longer. I will lose the ability to be the person I am becoming, unable to fully transform and to evolve, to be who and where I need to be in my life now. I need to reserve all of the strength I have left in me to do this. I had given you everything I had in our life together, but you are no more. 

What life do I now live, you ask? I am living honestly, openly, not holding back my fears or thoughts of knowing what will make me happy in this new world. You were what brought me complete contentment and happiness. Now that you are dead and gone, you have given “death” to me, your person that was only for you. When you were alive, you had given that person I once was “life,” but both you and I are no more. 

All of my love to you, Jon, from your person you once knew, 

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