I haven't known what to do with it for all of these months. Sometimes I go back and read it, reading through it again and again. I end up back in the heat and pain of that day when I do this. I feel the helplessness of waiting and the dark clouds gather while I wait for the inevitable conclusion. Sometimes I ignore it, pretending it isn't there, silently willing it to go away.
I couldn't bring myself to delete it all of these months. It felt wrong, someone loved me enough to say goodbye and the only real and true final goodbye I hope to ever get. I didn't want to cut that communication. In reality though, that was already cut and I knew it. Just having it in my phone felt both like a connection and a curse though.
Yesterday while I was dumping bad photos and text messages etc to clear space in my phone, I suddenly realized all of my text messages were gone. Chuck's message was gone. I had deleted Chuck's last message. I sat there stunned. How did I just do that? What just happened?
He had written us to say goodbye, and wrote briefly to us about what we meant to him. He told us where to find him. He told us the backdoor would be unlocked. I remember that part because when I saw it that was when I realized we weren't going back from this situation, even as I said it aloud so the police could be told I remember how it felt hearing those words. It seemed more final to me than him saying where his body was. He told us a lot of things in the short space of a text message, hit send, turned off his phone and pulled the trigger. He left the back door unlocked so they wouldn't damage the door getting in. He was thoughtful like that.
All those words are now gone from my life and I realized I was grateful. I was relieved. Then I felt guilty for even feeling like that for a moment. I texted another recipient of the same message:
I just accidentally deleted Chuck's goodbye text. I don't know how I feel about that.
His response: Consider it Merry Christmas to yourself.
I'm going to do that. Chuck would say "You gotta let that go, you can't dwell on that stuff." I can hear him say it. So I'm going to do that. I'm going to let that go. I'm not going to feel guilty for finally closing the door on that day.
He also left us all a song. It was three months before I could listen to it. I finally did listen to it one day while stuck in traffic on i85. When I listen to it I know we carried out his wishes and that's the best friends we could possibly have been to him. That's going to have to be good enough.
This is the song. You don't have to listen. I'm putting here like a marker.