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Dear Carl 

I feel like you going has destroyed my life. Things I could do before I can’t. Everywhere I look there are memories. And I mean everywhere. I’ve driven across town & I can see places we used to meet for a quick 5 minutes when I was on my way to or from work & you were on duty.  I can see you in your dog van, your radio beeping, your familiar utility vest rough against my cheek when I hugged you tight. I can see the mud splashes up your trousers from walking the dogs.  The places we drank coffee or shopped.  It’s hard to look at anything the same, because everything & everywhere for the last almost 4 years has you threaded through it.  The clothes I wear. The songs on the radio – my world is silent now & I can just about manage listening to Capital radio for the kids – but when that James Arthur song comes on – you won’t know it, but it’s a song I heard driving home that day with the kids in the back.  It talks about being in love when we’re old & grey.  I had thought to myself I must play it to you.  Not usually a fan but it rung true & sweet to me.  The sentiment.  I’d thought you were getting a little better. A little more positive. You’d seemed a little more yourself.

Then I find 3 police officers at my door. 

I’d just said no. No. No. No. No. I’d asked them if you were definitely dead. They said definitely. 

I wanted a cigarette.  I haven’t smoked for over 3 years & instantly I wanted to smoke.  I didn’t but I have been vaping steadily since.  I’m ashamed after not smoking for so long. I’d done so well.  The first little bit of me that was unpicked when you left. 

Then I’ve had to defer my 2nd year of Uni. After a distinction in my last module. I’d been excited, do you remember? Excited to start again, to study. Excited to show you & myself what I was capable of.  I’d been worried – because your illness was consuming us both but I’d thought it was possible.  Not now. It’s deferred for a year but will I do it?  I don’t know how too.  You’re my essay proof reader, my fan club, my proud boyfriend.  Not now. It’d been so important to me.  Nothing seems important now. 

And the kids.  I’m empty. My head tells me I love them but my heart is empty. I look at them & feel like I’ve ruined their lives.  First leaving their dad & breaking up our family.  Then introducing you, who single handedly has put a bomb under our world.  Was 4 years of happiness worth this much pain? 

Yes. Every second was worth it.  Yes, the happiness you brought emphasises how much you enriched our lives. You gave us adventure & fun & stability.  You were the good influence. The police officer, the good guy.  You made us a family again. 

That family has been destroyed. I’m destroyed. 

Carl, I love you. But I almost wish I’d never loved you & never known what it was like to have that life.  Because no other life will ever be of that quality will it? Full of that much love & stability.  They’ll always remember & love you as I will. But I hate they’ve had to experience this much pain with me. 

This is me saying goodbye to Cairo at your funeral. Your funeral. That word makes me feel sick.  He recognised me immediately despite weeks in kennels. He was excited & giddy & my heart broke again, like that’s even possible. 
I love you to the moon & stars Carl. Always. 

Caroline xxxx