I can’t believe it. I really can’t.
Fifty-five years… God, doesn’t that make you feel ancient?
It’s such a stupid cliché, but it literally feels like it was only yesterday. I can still remember every moment of that day in perfect detail. How handsome that suit looked on you. How delicious the cake tasted. How beautiful I felt in my dress. How adorable Tobi and Stefan were during the ceremony. How much dad and mãe and my Schwesters cried. How amazing it felt to say “I do” and become Mrs. Mariana Klein… I’ll never forget any of it.
But do you know what my favorite part was?
It wasn’t the ceremony, no matter how adorable you were stumbling over your vows. It wasn’t the reception either. Not the cake. Not the first dance. Not even our wedding night.
It was when you held me in your arms and told me I was worth something. When I was panicking and jittery and moments away from becoming the living cliché of the ‘runaway bride’, and you came in and made everything okay. Just like you always did, time and time again, for the rest of our lives together.
And baby, I would give anything – ANYTHING – for you to hold me in your arms like that again. Just one more time. I need you here with me. I need you to make it all okay. And it kills me to know that you can’t. That you never will again.
Every day is a struggle. Each week goes by and I tell myself it will get easier… But who am I kidding? It’s been nearly twenty years now since we lost our Lucas, and that pain never went away. And neither will this. But I’m trying so hard. What more can I do?
And the kids have been trying so hard too. You’d be so proud of them.
Our Stefan finally came home to us. For good. Can you believe it? We had an entire ocean separating us for more than forty years. And now, he’s barely a ten minute drive away. I just couldn’t be more grateful to have him here with me and Tobi… Especially now, after all we’ve lost. He told me this was something he’d been planning for a long time, and as soon as you started taking a turn for the worse, he tried so hard to make it happen — he just didn’t realize we had such little time left. None of us did.
Stefan was there when you left though… He made sure of it. I don’t think you knew it, but he was there, right by your side. He held your hand, and for the first time in my entire life, I heard him call you “Papa”. I really hope you heard it too.
As for Tobi, well, he’s been a godsend these past few months. He’s hurting so much, but he’s been putting on such a brave face for all of us. He was the one who used to make sure I was eating every day (Please don’t worry, I’m a lot better about that now. I promise). He and Colette have been working so hard to keep me busy and get me out of the house too. It’s sweet. And he still lets me sit with him on the bad days and just cry when I need it. Our son may not share your blood, baby. But boy, does he have your heart.
And then there’s Clara… I can’t lie. Our little girl is struggling a lot. And I can’t say I blame her. I was just a few years older than her when I lost my dad – You remember that, don’t you? I was a mess. I don’t know how I could have made it through that without you. But you know Florian… He’s been her rock through this whole thing, just like you were mine. So I know she’ll be okay.
I guess the poor thing just has a lot on her mind right now, so that probably isn’t helping… You remember what’s coming up, don’t you? Rory’s heading off to uni in just a few weeks. Yes, already! I still remember how excited you were when she got her acceptance letter (and how you teased her about it making up for never getting a Hogwarts letter. You fucking goof ❤ ).
And she’s not the only one with some changes coming – Auggy and Noah’s little Sasha is another who’s just growing up way too fast… In less than two months, she’ll be starting first grade!
There are lots of mixed feelings all-around, I think. It’s always so hard to see your babies grow up so quickly, right before your eyes. You know that just as well as I do, huh?
Oh, and speaking of babies growing… Leo’s been talking more and more lately. Just little sentences here and there, but he’s getting braver about using his words every time I see him. Remi’s been trying to teach him “Ur-Oma”, but it’s still too much of a mouthful, I think. I wish you could have seen the look on Clara’s face when he finally said “Oma” last week though. She was so excited at first… Until it hit her that a little human being just called her his grandmother. God, I remember that feeling! Remi and Layla couldn’t stop laughing. And I know you wouldn’t have been able to either.
I know you’ve only been gone a few months, but the more I think about it, the more I’m realizing how much you’ve been missing already. Maybe not everything’s quite as exciting as starting school or learning to talk… But even the smallest moments matter, don’t they? And I just wish you could be here with us to see them.
Things have pretty quiet around the house lately… But we’ve had a few milestones. Colette finally retired from her teaching job last month, after forty-five years! And Tobi celebrated by buying them a beautiful vacation home up in the mountains (Yes, seriously! But it’s nothing compared to that fancy watch I got you when you retired, right? 😉 ).
And Jocelyne just wrapped up her fiftieth production with the theater company. They surprised her with a cake and everything – she was so touched. And I just love seeing Jocelyne doing something that makes her so happy (though never quite as happy as Mark does).
And that’s pretty much it around the house, I think. Then we have all our travelers…
River and Coleen are off on another tour together, and it sounds like they’re having a blast. I know how much you love hearing their stories – just like the ones Lucas used to come home with.
Tony’s still loving grad school at Havencrest… Sometimes I wonder whether she’ll end up staying in the US, like our Stefan did. Maybe it’d be good for her. Sometimes we all need a change… And I think Jocelyne will understand. As long as she’s happy, right?
And I know Alex definitely is. Her football contract with Champs Les Sims just got renewed for another three years… Tobi’s so proud. And Colette still loves having more excuses to visit France again, so it’s kind of a win-win for everyone, huh?
Nothing new to report with Charlie and Zayne, really. She’s still busy planning for the wedding, and we’re all so excited for it. Remember how lovely Auggy and Noah’s was? We all really needed it, after the hell we’d gone through losing Lucas and Hazel. And I think Charlie and Ben’s wedding is exactly what we all need right now too – something to look forward to, after all this pain. I just wish you could be there to see it with us.
And Zayne… Well, it’s pretty much same old, same old for him right now. Still living downtown. Still single. Still working down at the restaurant. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that… But remember what you told him, back before things got bad? About finding his calling? I think he wants to, Jonas. So damn badly. But I don’t think it’ll be easy for him. I kind of get the sense he’s a bit ‘lost’ right now… But I know he’ll find his way, eventually. We always do in this family, don’t we?
I’m sorry for rambling so much… I just looked back and realized how many pages I’ve filled up. I just got carried away, I guess. I wanted to tell you everything. There’s so much you’ve missed already… And even more that you will miss. It’s just not fair. None of this is.
You were my rock. My anchor. You held me together. You reminded me that my life was worth something, and that is one of the greatest gifts you’ve ever given me. That, and our beautiful family. And when I think back on our life together, I will always be so grateful for every single moment we shared.
I know you told me not to rush. I still remember your promise — That you’d wait for me and you’d… What was it you said? “Scope out the place and find a nice little spot for us to spend eternity together.” Well, I still promise not to rush… But I hope I won’t keep you waiting too long.
Until then, give your parents and mine all my love. Grab a few drinks with Josh. Find Lucas and Hazel and tell them what an amazing young man their son turned out to be. And save me a seat at the bar, okay?
Happy Anniversary, baby. I love you.
I think Mari’s letter said it all ❤ I love you, Jonas, and I will miss you so much.
Welcome to the YA years. I promise things will be a little happier from here 🙂