Honoring Mitch on His Special Days

June 9, 2024

Dear Mitch,

Your birthday (June 22) and Father’s Day are coming up.

Usually, both of these celebrations end up in the same week due to the dates. I am finding that when a first or an anniversary of some sort after your death is coming up, my sorrow is worse leading up to the date rather than on the date. You can anticipate that this day is going to be a difficult one, so it seems I get the stronger anguish out beforehand so I can celebrate.

Celebrate is not quite the right word;

maybe try to find gratitude on that day even though you are not with us physically. Again, where is that grief dictionary when you need it? You know, maybe the right word is honor. Maybe each of these words is correct, but with a different brevity to them.

On your birthday, I want to honor you. In tribute, I want to celebrate the privilege of being a part of your life for over thirty years. After all, you are my soul mate. You are the person I declared I would marry in junior high.

I want to shout from the mountaintops

what a wonderful human being you were. You always thought of others before yourself. Especially within your family. I smile as I remember how you always put your kids first. You did everything with and for them. You made Halloween special for them by carving pumpkins and taking them trick-or-treating. You were their biggest cheerleader. You guided and taught them with gentleness and patience. I remember you always making sure I had gas in my car without me ever asking; it was just done for me. Your care for your community and the customers you served at both the grocery store and Ellie Ann’s Interior Design was truly remarkable.

On Father’s Day,

after we moved back to Bottineau, we always went to the demolition derby. You’d always go to the Lutheran church stand to get your cheeseburger with fried onions and a piece of homemade pie. Later, at the derby’s intermission, you’d get cheese curds. Since your death, I have not been able to get myself to go to the Derby. It is a landmine of grief ambushes. It just wouldn’t be the same without you there by my side. I believe it’s acceptable for me to avoid this distressing situation, as I have already engaged in numerous other activities and will continue to do so. I know you are looking at all of the things I am doing and not focusing on the ones I am not.

I hope, in a small way,

you feel I am honoring you by continuing to write these letters to you from my heart. This not only helps me process my grief but also assures you will not be forgotten. These are a memorial to you and the love we shared and continue to share in your death.

With all my love,


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