I have known I would have to make this post for a month now. I have mulled over in my mind how I would write it. This will be long but it is needful to be so. It is the first anniversary of my husband’s death. He died Dec 23, 2008, after, in the terms of cancer battles, a short battle of colon cancer (less than 3 years). I have missed his friendship, but I was not left wanting. The memories are very uplifting, from the first time we met, to the last “I Love you”. We met when I was working nights in a cafeteria. He was still trying to find out why his first wife had divorced him. Our eyes met and I knew him as a special person for me. Although I must say, I was leery of dating a divorced man. I got over that in a hurry and I knew on our first date I would marry him. It took him 6 months more to figure it out. (smile, and a wink) We were married a year and one month after our first date.
I remember him holding me in his arms protectively when I thought I was going to miscarry our first child. Our crying when we thought our marriage was dying 2 years later. Then the triumph we felt, after spending two weeks on a trip together, and we figured out for ourselves the secret to unity. We read, discussed scriptures, politics, and life goals together and never stopped in our 39 years of marriage. He was always looking out after the family. He had a special link with his children and always knew when one was in trouble or needed help in some form. That is a loss of guidance for me. It was the special gift Heavenly Father gave to him. One of the hardest challenges has been to not have him at special family milestones such as baptisms, blessings, and birthdays.
One time as I was walking in the grocery store after a hard day at work, he caught up to me and unexpectedly placed his hand in the center of my back. I felt a loving warmth flow through my back and shoulders, allowing me to relax. He didn’t know what he had done, he had just felt I needed his touch at the time. Do I miss him? Oh yes!
This is us posing in American Gothic form. I made him the jacket. He loved it. We had some crazy fun times too. Laughter and humor were staples in the joyous areas of our life. The highlight of his turning sixty was our winning the 'Twist' Contest at my High School reunion in 2006. When he was sick, he tolerated very well my attempts to cheer him and to keep him in a positive mood. I fear that I as I pressed him to be positive, I did not allow him to voice the depth of his pain. He wrote about it in his journal, and only said how I was an angel that lifted him up when he was in great pain. He is my hero.
We had trials. We went through the loss of a job when he was 44. I remember holding his hands and kneeling in prayer with him, as he worked through the anxiety of job searching at the age of 44. He found odd jobs to see us through until he found another good paying job. He believed in sustaining his family. When he discovered that he had cancer, we became more one than ever. I never left him alone for more than a couple of hours to take care of business. He would worry about what was going to happen to me. He made sure that his will, life insurance, etc was all in order. Our home was paid for and so were the cars. I made sure that his wishes to be aware (not drugged), and able to make his own decisions was met. Sometimes it was a precarious road, but we made it. (My only regret was I fell asleep the morning he crossed to the other side.)
The day before he died; he had quit eating and drinking. I would urge him to eat to his irritation. That afternoon, he spoke to most of his family and was able to say I love you. He knew our oldest daughter was traveling through snow to try and get there. That evening, he looked up at me after being cleaned, and said through his mask, “I love you”. I know he does, and I am able to forge ahead in service of others to live up to the little messages of love and confidence he expressed about me in his journals and to his friends who have shared how he said he love me and appreciated me as a companion.
While it has been occasionally tears, as I have been driving alone, on a pillow late at night, or when sharing stories with my children, it is alright. It is a natural process of pain of the absence of my sweet heart. I do not walk alone. I have his love and the love of my Heavenly Father to sustain me, as well as the knowledge of the atonement of Christ to give me light to see that there will be a day I will see him again.
This is my report at the end of the first year.