Your Priority

Dear Larry:

On the 24th of this month, four years ago, you died.  I have been without you for 4 years and from a cerebral place, it is inconceivable that you have been gone this long.  A day does not go by that someone who interacted with you mentions to me how much you are missed and what an impact you had on their lives.  It is an immense source of pride for me, and the well-wisher ends up leaving our lobby uncomfortable as inevitably they see the tears, they feel that they provoked, rolling from my eyes.  Even after nearly 4 years I cannot talk about you without dealing with tears.  I can’t stop them, as you well know, but I also think that there is a part of me that never wants them to stop.  They symbolize US and the intense and intimate life that we shared together, and I never want to let that go without being held in a place of honor.

Reflecting back, there is so much that I miss.  Lately, based on what has gone on in my life without you, one thing keeps coming up for me.  My experience with you was that every moment or every day, I was your priority.  You created a place for me where I felt cherished, and I knew that you were my protector.  No questions asked.  It was in your DNA, and you never had to think about it.  One incident keeps coming into my mind.  This is a memory from very long ago, but it symbolizes perfectly what I am attempting to articulate.

You and I had a business meeting in New Orleans.  We took my white Volkswagen convertible and began our trip east on I-10.  You drove.   I remember we talked and laughed about everything except the meeting were about to have.  We didn’t need to.  We were prepared. 

Part of this interstate highway has a section separating the east from the west bound roads with a thicket of trees and Palmetto.  Drivers cannot see the other side of the highway due to the denseness of the overgrowth.  With no warning at all, a deer popped out of this thicket while being chased by a dozen hunting dog.  There were no options, and you knew right away that we were going to hit this deer and he was flying at windshield level.  This deer was going to hit us and in a worst case, demolish the front end of the car, the windshield and end up in our laps.  I saw you jerk the car to the right.  The deer hit your side of the car shattering your window.  The antlers cut your face missing your left eye by a centimeter.  The entire left side of the car was destroyed and covered with blood and deer hide.  Somehow you managed to stay in control of the car and get us safely onto the shoulder of the road.  Blood was gushing from your face.  I was shaking with fear.  You were calm, as usual, and spent the next moment comforting me and reassuring me that your gash was just a minor cut.

I was expressing my gratitude to you for remaining so calm through this potentially deadly incident and that I knew that in a crisis, you were the person I always wanted to be with.  You were clear headed and logical.   You were AIRBORN. You worked best under pressure, and we were safe because of you.  I remember you saying, “I wanted to be sure that the deer did not hurt you”.

Reflecting back, I realize that you took the chance of that deer landing in your lap and potentially hurting or killing you, but without hesitation, you turned INTO it so it would not hurt me.  You literally would have died for me and never thought twice about it.  THIS is my example of how you made me your priority every minute of every day.  How blessed was I to have a husband who cherished me to this extent?  How lucky was I to have the blessing from God to have a husband create a life for me where I knew that nothing, in your mind, would ever take priority over me? 

As your 4th year death date approaches, I wanted you to know that I do not take this for granted.  I realize and appreciate the man you were and what an honor it was for 35 years for me to be

Your wife