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Letter: Wife’s memories remain, despite absence at memorials

I am asked why I no longer am visibly seen on television with the other Flight 3407 families. The truth; I want to forget that day ever happened. Honestly, there is never a time when I can forget the worst day of my life, but I can stop reliving the day over and over.

There came a time, for me and my family when we realized that we were no longer honoring my husband, Darren, by merely showing up at news conferences, a memorial dedication, or the date of the plane crash. I refuse to call it an anniversary. Anniversaries are for happy times, not for the day that caused me so much pain.

I simply remember my husband every day because let’s face it, Darren is everywhere. He is my daughter’s laughter and my son’s stride. He is in their kindness and in their stubbornness, and mostly he is in my heart where he will remain until my heart stops beating. In essence, Darren and I are only a heartbeat away.

I do not fault, criticize, or look down upon those who need to be at a candlelight vigil or memorial event. That is what brings peace and comfort to their own hearts, and that is what is right for them. It isn’t, however, right for me.

I choose to sit by the fireplace with family and friends, share endless stories, laugh, and sometimes cry, about the man who touched our lives and hearts. I choose, no longer to look in the rearview mirror of my life and see what was. I choose to look forward and see what is. Oh, trust me, I had a future all planned out with Darren, but that all changed, everything changed, I changed.

Darren will be remembered in endless stories told to future grandchildren. He will be remembered when we hang his Christmas stocking by the fireplace and we hang countless ornaments of our travels with him. He will be remembered in the quite of the night as well as the chaos of a day. He will be remembered when I glance down at my hand, and I recall his soft hand in mine. He will be remembered in notes of songs that make my heart smile now.

I just simply ned to close my eyes and reminisce about the days, our happy days before everything changed.

Robin J. Tolsma


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