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Dear Carl 

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I wish writing here felt more like writing to you but it doesn’t. And nothing really makes me feel close to you, nothing except visiting Marlesford.
I drove there last weekend, 3 and a half hours to get there, by myself. By far the furthest I’ve ever been alone, and for the saddest reason. I stayed in a room i booked in someone’s house, it was strange but it suited the requirement which was to just get there & home as cheaply as possible. I visited your dad. He seemed very receptive, and wanted to hold my hand & cuddle me. We drove to the church & I saw where you are. I saw the cross on your grave, with your name. And with this almighty crash I felt like the bottom in my world dropped out again. It was real. You’re there. I felt close to you there. I wrote in the book in the church. And sat with your dad in a pew, in the most peaceful place. If you have to be anywhere I guess I’m glad it’s there, with your mum. But I want you here. 

I can still picture you so clearly. I can see your face in my mind, the shape of your head, the shape of your ears….the colour of your eyes. I can picture you sitting on my kitchen side & imagine standing between your legs hugging you. The rough feel of your jeans on my hands. The way you shaved your head but hadn’t shaved as far down as your neck so the spiky little hairs poked over the neck of your tshirt.  Strangely enough that’s one of the things we did in that last week. I shaved your head for you. Standing in the kitchen I shaved down your neck & it was smooth & fresh. You were ready for a shower after having been running. Your running shoes were on my kitchen floor. 

How are you not here? 

Things have been tough, I won’t lie. You may have noticed I’m coping. I am coping. I get on with life, with my kids, my job. I have a dog now! He’s called Chase & you knew him. He’s with us because you know i always wanted a spaniel & somehow he became available…I found out about him on the day of your memorial. And he came home just after new year. He belonged to your sergeant, and you’d trained alongside each other. But he failed & now he’s here with me.  I like to think he was sent by you….a last gift. A consolation prize of sorts in a black kind of way. A sorry for the way you’ve blown my life into pieces & taken away not only yourself, our love, and every ounce of self worth & belief I ever had. Which as you know was never much!  Do I sound bitter? I’m not. I’m not angry. But in doing what you did you took away my future too. The only future I wanted. You. Me. Happiness. I never wanted much & now it’s all gone. 

Your family don’t believe in us. I know that for certain now. They told the FLO when Chris had to make his coroners statement. They said, that they believe, you didn’t want to be with me. 

It suits them to believe that. So they don’t feel bad about cutting me out of their lives & pretending I don’t exist. 

On hearing that I looked at your text messages in those final weeks. You were adamant you loved me & you wanted to follow your heart and live the life you dreamed of with me. I’ll never know the truth now. All the things you said. 3 years & 10 months of loving you with not a moment of doubt – you loved me openly, fiercely. I saw it with my own eyes, felt it with my own heart. Yet they refuse to acknowledge it. 

Their behaviour has been cruel. Their opinion has cut like a knife, so deeply. It was ok while you were here to reassure & love me as you did. As I was used too. But to take that away as they’ve done. To take almost 4 years of feelings, memories & love & reduce them to a ‘mistake’ in his life. That’s horrific. 

I wish you were here. So badly. 

I love you. So very much. 

Your girl still, 

Caroline xxx