When cleaning out old emails, I noticed my folder titled “Iraq” was empty. This was the one that held a handful of emails between me and Roger right before he died in 2009. I didn’t freak out because I have them saved somewhere, printed and digital, but I was disappointed they weren’t readily available to peek at.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day with bright sunshine and weather in the mid-seventies so I sat outside for a bit to do some work. Obsessed with the missing folder, I began scrolling through my phone. I looked again in a different spot and the emails were in there! Because I found them, I had to read them. Again.
One of my favorites is when Roger emailed to me, I can’t think of anyone that I would want to raise my kids except you. There are others that make me blush which I will save for myself, but some forever haunt me.
The one I always trip on is the last one he sent that I received when I was in the shoe aisle at Target in Jacksonville. We were there buying some last-minute items for our road-trip to Massachusetts.
My phone dinged and the butterflies tickled my gut. I knew it was Roger!
He attempted to connect with me via Yahoo! Messenger. hey you on this thing sign on to im im waiting.
Service wasn’t as it is now, so I saw the message but when I tried to sign on to IM, it didn’t connect. I moved around the brightly-lit store with my right arm held high and kept trying but had to quit. Because I had a toddler in tow and a million items on my list for our trip, I finished shopping then went out to the parking lot and tried again but had no luck.
Three days later he was killed, and it lingers on my conscience that he knew he was going on a mission but couldn’t tell me. He wanted to talk to me one last time before he left.
That was our last contact and I still wince when I remember the moment I took for granted. Throughout the years, I have learned to almost forgive myself, but it takes effort and the right mood. Frequently, people deal with last moments they aren’t aware of. We should not take each other for granted, I agree, but we can’t live on the sharpest of edges constantly worried about last moments. I can give that advice all day long, but taking it for myself is not easy. Always worrying that a kiss, conversation, or dance is the last is too much for a person, so the best thing to do is just chill and enjoy each moment like there will be millions more. It’s the only way to really live.