So much …

I’m looking around the kitchen. The floors and the cabinets are color coordinated with the countertop. A designer tried to help me pick out colors that you would like, but in the end, I chose exactly what was in the model home. I had no idea if I had done right. You came and saw it, and you loved it.

You put a sign up on the top of the cabinets, just over there. “LOVE” it said, in all capital letters. It’s gone now.

There was another sign over there, next to the stove. It said “This kitchen is for dancing.” We danced a lot in this kitchen you and me, long before there was a sign. I loved to dance in the kitchen with you.

I sat you up on the countertop, and you wrapped your arms around my neck and pulled me close, so many times. I kissed you. I loved kissing you, while the stove behind me sizzled.

There was so much love here.

Just over there, I had them build the stacked stone fireplace because you said you liked that look. I remember the times we’d drag the mattress downstairs and cuddle up in front of the fire. We would sleep there all night, after we’d made love.

There’s a verse on the wall, the width of the room. “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, by His power at work within us,” it promises. I would meet you at dawn under that covenant and kneel and pray for you and your son. When you cried, I cried. You loved for me to pray with you.

And there, in the corner, we would sit and talk out our grievances, the kitchen timer telling each of us when our time was up. We were learning to work things out. We’d make up and tell one another “I love you, babe.”

Up on the wall, five tin stars hang. We had been driving through the mountains and stopped in that little antique shop. You loved the big stars, and wanted one of your own. I couldn’t limit you to just one. They hang there still, just as you arranged them.

There was so much love here, not long ago.

Upstairs, we sat in the living room and worked a thousand puzzles, a thousand pieces each. We would talk about our days, our plans, and our fears. We laughed a lot here, the two of us. We watched the movies that you love, and I’d cuddle up next to you and watch, and kiss you on the shoulder. I loved kissing you on the shoulder.

And here, in our bedroom, on the wall are the giant initials, G and B, joined by a golden ampersand. They were the first things I hung up after the house was completed. Just off to the side is the picture that once hung in my lonely apartment; it reads “Today is the day.” For 8 months I read that sign every day, hoping that that day would be the day that you would come and marry me. That day finally came.

There was so much love here … so much love.

In this bed I took care of you when you felt sick. And here I lay as close to you as I could, trying to keep my breathing from waking you up, as I watched you sleep. And in this bed we laughed and we cried and we shared so much of our life, of our love, of our energies and of our emotions, of ourselves, intertwined.

There was so much love here.

And now, you are not here. The pictures are gone. The dresser is empty.

And yet you are here still, in every corner, and I rattle around this empty shell of a home and plead with God in Heaven to wake me up or to let me sleep forever. There is still so much love here, even now, at the end, when you’re not.

There is so much love here.

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