Oh wow. This was such a lovely, heartfelt story. The conceit behind the narrative is a simple one: a science vessel heading out into to the edges of space includes an artist’s wife. She will never return to Earth (at least, not within the artist’s lifetime) because of the technology used (the scientist’s consciousness was uploaded to a ship capable of faster-than-light jumps), and the great distance being traveled. They will, however, be able to communicate via another technology between the faster-than-light jumps the scientist will be making, so they can—at least—speak to each other.
But the ship launches, and the communication technology turns out not to work. Those left behind can see the ship’s journey, yes, and monitor the progress, but not communicate in real-time as they’d hoped. Instead, they can aim a message out into space that will travel at limited speed, and so the artist crafts her letter to her wife, knowing she will never hear back.
I don’t want to ruin the content of the message beyond saying it deals with the artist’s choices in what to do with the scientist’s remains now that her consciousness is gone, but I will say this was an anthology favourite, hands down. I loved it. Loving and longing, impactful science in the science fiction, and yet completely grounded in emotionality. Fantastic.