The day is quickly approaching marking the one-year anniversary of your death. Your Heavenly birthday. Your eternal reward. People call it many things but what is most apparent to me is that this is the day you left me. My first night without you. The first days of the rest of my days without you. Losing you changed every moment of the rest of my life.
I know that you did not want to go. You looked forward to our next trip and you wanted to see our grandchildren grow up. When you felt that your chances of surviving were slim, you begged me to take you home. You said that you did not care if you only lived two days, but you wanted to go home to die. You wanted to die surrounded by your grandchildren. That did not happen, sadly.
So often I think about what you will miss. Graduations. Weddings. Trips. Growing old with me. We will miss being at these life shifting events together. During my pity parties, I suffer about doing these things alone and especially without you. My elegant escort! I was always so proud to be on your arm.
The emptiness and loneliness of the present and the future often clouds my vision. I have to shake off the sadness and recapture the past. When I think of the about your essence, I have to smile. You were an extraordinary man in so many ways. You were honest and loyal. You had lifelong friendships that you never let lapse. I remember one night that our telephone rang, and it was the wife of one of your dearest college friends. He had become seriously ill and his wife found him unconscious in his lounge chair. The paramedics were able to revive him long enough for him to tell his wife, “Call Larry”. You were out the door in a matter of minutes to take the 6-hour trip to be at your friend’s bedside. By the grace of God, he survived. When he found out that you were ill, he reciprocated and was by your side. He speaks often of your loyalty to him and spoke of it at your memorial. Now, we often sit and cry together because he misses you too.
You were stubborn. You were steadfast. You did not waver. You were seldom wrong, but if someone were to prove you wrong, you had no problem owing it and apologizing. You were reliable. If you promised to be there by 4:00, you arrived at 3:55 because if you got there at 4:00, you were late. You were a man of your word and your word meant everything to you. Your integrity was your legacy and you would do nothing to tarnish it. You were a man of honor.
I live in the sadness of living without you. For one moment when I looked at your death from your eyes, I realized something. I live in the sadness of the years we will not have together, but I saw that you gave every day of the rest of your life to me. You loved me until your last breath on earth. You honored me by allowing me to be your wife for 35 years. You gave your life to me. You dedicated your last days on earth to me.
As the date approaches, it seems impossible that this much time has gone by. The wound is fresh. The ache does not go away. The room still echoes with the silence of your absence and my heart is still broken. Know, my love, that you are dearly missed, but your friends, your family, the ones you mentored, but most of all by me. Watch over us as we gather on that day as your loving family to do some of the things that you loved. We will tell stories and laugh and cry. Most of all, I want to feel your presence and know that you are with us on that day watching over each of us.
We will offer toast to you, my love. We all miss you. I miss you.
I love you.