Dear Irene,

You were a mouse of a woman and I your elephant of a man. This gentle giant could not be comforted except by your soothing patience. I really want to thank you for helping me express myself. Without you I would not be able to breathe. Why did you talk so much? I had so much to tell you, if only we could have learned. Your timely smile still greets me in my less-troubled mind. I am still not doing very well, but your advice has always assuaged me. I always thought we should have visited more frequently, just so you could understand this mess of a machine. Laughter was frequent enough for me and I think you could use some help coming out of your shell. I want to be that person we spoke of, the one that could come out of his.

When can I give you advice or lend my ear? I feel you often pushed me away but you also taught me to respect boundaries and limitations, unless that was just an elaborate ruse to make me feel benefitted. You know how I worry too much, and you, you were more a mother than any of my friends. Days with you were exercises in finding the right time to say the right things for me to use when speaking to the wrong people.