My Dear Jon,
Today would have been your 33rd birthday. We were supposed to be living in Miami where your music career was to be taking off. Instead its been 221 days since you walked out that front door unkissed, something I will always regret.
I have to tell you something. You were right. All of those times you wanted me to stop in the middle of whatever I was doing to talk or kiss or slow dance. I would tell you that there were things I needed to get done and you would reply, “What if I die tomorrow?” I hated that response. I would roll my eyes and tell you that you couldn’t use that excuse every time you wanted to interrupt me. When you did succeed in stopping me from finishing the dishes or putting on my make-up and would take me in your arms for a moment, you would say, “one day you’re going to miss this.” Well, you were right. The tomorrow I never thought would come, came. Those hugs you were so good at giving, I do miss them, more than words could express.
You were so good at giving affection. I never had to wonder if you loved me. Not once. Even in our hardest times the fact that you loved me remained unquestioned. I knew that you were mine. Your eyes never wandered, not even for a glance. I never had to compete for your gaze, not even online. In fact, I know many times you called out other men to the same standard. And in honoring me that way you made me feel secure and cherished. I will always remember that on our last day together you spent an hour trying to convince me that I was beautiful when I was feeling self conscious at the Sebastian Inlet.
We worked so hard to make our marriage what it was. The last year I had you was the year I loved you the most. We had overcome many of our marriage’s weaknesses and so were able to love one another unhindered. I remember thinking that it felt like we had already had a whole marriage in the 7 years we had been together. I was actually glad for our previous hard times because I felt like it got a lot of our issues out of the way so that we could continue forward in strength, unity and love. We had gotten through the hardest part, so what else could get in our way?
And then you rose to the challenge of fatherhood spectacularly. I’m only now realizing how much I relied on your support throughout my pregnancy. Your constant effort and attention to me and to Jocelyn throughout her first year only deepened my love, appreciation and respect for you. And though she was just barely over a year old when she last saw you, I know Jocelyn remembers you. Now that she is more verbal she asks me to show her pictures and videos of you almost every day. Your love made in impression on her little heart. You would have loved and excelled in this toddler season with Jocelyn. You were always way better at silliness than I was.
Today is your birthday. I always looked forward to planning something that would make you feel loved. Your birthday was often overshadowed by Thanksgiving so I always tried my best to make sure you had a day were you felt honored. I liked to plan special birthday trips for you, but I know the thing that made you feel most loved was simply to tell you all of the ways that I loved you. Expressing emotion has always been difficult for me and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you often enough how much I loved, appreciated and respected you. So for this, your first birthday in paradise, I’ve done my best to remember and honor you here with my words.
Even as my heart heals from your loss, I will always love you.
Most Affectionatly Yours,
To my readers who knew Jon, I have a request.
I asked at the funeral and then a couple months later with minimal response. Jon’s love language was words and so for his birthday I would ask you to honor him by sharing a story on Jon’s Facebook page about a time that he impacted your life, made you laugh or helped you through a hard time. I want to collect these stories for Jocelyn and our son to be able to read and know from many voices who their father was.