The Gift I Received From My Dead Husband Changed My Life Forever

The shelf hung inside a deconstructed closet with no door, a built-in desk of sorts, in my dining room.

It was one of the home improvement projects finished by my ex-husband when he was still my husband. He’d built the closet into a craft station for the kids and a desk for me. Now, it housed the printer and served as a catchall. (After all, the kids were texting, not crafting. I was working on a laptop, not a bulky, lime-green desktop.)

I’d neatly lined the shelf with instruction manuals, outdated school textbooks, and classics that had been part of my kids’ reading list that I swore I’d read again. The shelf was tidy, but staring at it I didn’t remember the last time I’d used or moved any of it.

I removed a few books, leafed through each one longer than I’d intended, and set them on the dining room table. With the next book came a lavender envelope. It landed on the floor with an audible slap.

I picked up the envelope. There was no name or address. No stamp. It was tacked lightly shut, so someone had licked its bitter glue strip. I popped it open. But what if it wasn’t for me? My house, my shelf, my envelope, right? Many scenarios popped to mind, none of them accurate.

RELATED: How Snooping On My Ex-Husband Helped Me Survive Our Divorce

On the outside of the card was a small, unidentifiable cartoon animal — a cutesy one. It held a sign that said, “Sorry.”

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