Sunday, July 19, 2015
Letter to Tad, July 1945
I may regret this letter for the rest of my life, but I would rather live with sorrow than falsehood.
When Bob and I married we made a vow to be faithful to each other "til death do us part." We are now parted by death, and nothing stands between you and me. You are a kind, honest and thoughtful man, and knowing you has made me immensely happy.
For the last four years I have fought the war. I don't mean by working in the bomber factory, though I hope I've done some tiny part. I mean I've fought against the war and what it's done to my life. There's nowhere, from the train station to the grocery store, from my empty bed to my empty ring finger and the empty space on the shelf where Bob's picture used to sit, that hasn't been fouled by this conflict.
It seemed nothing was ever up to me, that circumstances beyond my control must dictate my every action.
Then came Betty's wedding.
I was thrilled for her of course. But as her bouquet flew toward me, I suddenly understood what I think I'd known all along. I did not catch the flowers.
Betty's husband died in the icy wastes of the Aleutians. Bob's bones lie in the soft warm mud of tropical island. I imagine some beautiful tree has grown and blossomed over his remains, a living bouquet that I will never see but fills my heart with joy and always will.
Bob was an architect. So I can't help thinking of things in terms of houses. I now know that my path lies in rebuilding my life on its original foundations, not in moving to a new home. I will win the war by defying it and staying true to everything that mattered to be before that horrendous Sunday morning so long ago.
I cannot love anyone else. I cannot live anywhere but in the little white bungalow under the cedar tree, the place Bob and I chose to start our lives and where I intend to finish mine. Then we will be together, in a place without war.
I wish you all the love and happiness you deserve and will undoubtedly find. I thank you for your help and support. Know that I will always think of you with the greatest affection and gratitude. I have no doubt that your life will be filled with the love and joy you so deserve. Mine perhaps will not, but it is the fate I choose.