Author Topic: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.  (Read 876 times)


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Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« on: December 07, 2017, 09:27:06 AM »
Today, fifteen years ago, was John's last day alive. I still have sharp memory of that day, minute by minute I know what was going on. It will likely never be forgotten, probably never will blur. I am OK to have the memories- kind of like it is the least I can do to remember him. There are, obviously, many, many good memories of our 27 years together and there are, of course, the rotten cancer memories (more than just the last day) and then the last day memories are those where I see myself from the outside looking in.

I am here not because I am a young widow (I'm 61 now, 46 when widowed) and not because I struggle. I feel proud of who I am, always have even at the worst of it. I am here because I still have a thing or two to share and to let others hear about my travels through it and how it looks to have walked through the ring of fire and to be on the other side of it with scars but I still have skin, still have hair, I've put on new clothes to replace the ones that were burned to ash. I love again. I have joy in my heart. I  go forward with my John out there in the ether and he helps and rewards me with his love from THERE.

I've never cared if folks believe me or not about his ongoing role in my life. I'm not religious and frankly I'm sort of amazed to have learned that something goes on past this life on earth. I always had an inkling. Now I am convinced although I don't pretend to have any real clue about it. Is this faith? Not really as I have proofs.

Our daughter got married recently. Out in the crowd of invited guests I saw a shirt John used to wear- a crazy Hawaiian shirt with koi fish swimming in water. I saw it before I saw who was wearing it. It was his best friend wearing the shirt and I knew it was the sign I was hoping for. His friend was there the day John died but left before, hours before, to avoid his ex-wife who arrived to help me care for John (she is a registered nurse). Apparently, I gave John's friend the shirt. I do not remember doing so. I can hardly believe it did it- I mean who does that? I knew, really knew, John was dying but at the moment I gave away his favorite shirt he was still alive. If I wanted his friend to have it I could have sent it to him. This action of giving the shirt away while John was still alive is so not like me...

and understandable that like some sort of magic trick the shirt was transferred to his friends hands and saved for 15 years to wear to our daughter's wedding. Mix into the magic that we had a beach wedding where this shirt was not only appropriate but that our friend struggled to know if this was an ok thing to do.
I am good friends with his ex wife and didn't even invite her because I wanted to make sure he would come. I even wrote him a note telling him she would not be invited- and really who does that? Not me. But I did.

So, do you see how it all lines up? A shirt given but forgotten, a shirt saved, a shirt becomes appropriate for the occasion where normally it would not be appropriate, a shy guy who never opts to put himself out there goes ahead and does this thing and I walk up to him and I'm not even clear how it is that he wears this OH SO FAMILIAR shirt and his eyes fill with tears as he reminds me I gave it to him on the day John died, moments before he drove away? He told me I ran out to the driveway after we had said goodbye and shoved it in his hands. He told me that he couldn't find his sunglasses and sat in the driveway for a minute or two- long enough for me to rummage through John's closet looking for the shirt and long enough for me to run through the house and out the door to give it to him).

 I called him within a minute or two of his arrival back home to let him know John was dead. That I do remember. He was so sad and full of regrets to let his difficult and bitter ex keep him from being there when his friend passed away.

There is even a picture taken by the wedding photographer that shows me whispering to my daughter about the shirt and her face is crying but happy to know that her Dad was there in spirit, not just us saying so but in that shirt. She remembered the shirt and until that moment had not noticed that it was a part of the scene.

This life is like a puzzle and this piece fits here and that piece there and some of my pieces go into other puzzles and I don't even know why. Sometimes I can feel when this is happening. When a piece that fits in my puzzle shows up I am always surprised but never doubt its origins. It still makes me weep, the beauty of this and the sadness of loss. I'm good though. I have grown to understand  the way my life continues and grows and moves towards more wisdom and more good times and love. Love. LOVE.

That was John's final say in this world. He couldn't say it out loud- he was so far gone- maybe if it works this way he had one foot on the other side but his far away eyes zoomed back for a millisecond and looked right into mine and he mouthed it. LOVE.

This fills me with such peace. So today, I can write this post in this widow place and speak of it with only the smallest lump in my throat, with no hot tears falling just a beginning misty wetness gathering at the corners of my eyes and hope for all of you who might read this that you will be able to sort out your most terrible of losses and move into the future with hope of your own and an ability to live more.

John, he was my husband for 24 years. I met him when I was only 19 and he proclaimed his love for me the next time he saw me. I believed him but I was surprised by his emotion! And I wanted to know for sure I felt the same way before I said anything similar to him...and I made him wait another two weeks before I told him I felt it too. He had blue eyes and eyelashes like a super model. He was skinny and blond. It was 1975. Our child was born ten years later! She is 32 now. She was 17 when he died. This is a tiny part of our story but proof of how life goes on.

15 seems a significant anniversary to remember and yet it is only the fact that it is Pearl Harbor Day today that jolted me from regular thoughts to these thoughts today. As they say, a day that will live on "in infamy" and as John was a World War II buff it has always seemed quite fitting that he died on this day. My Mom pointed it out to me at the time. This is what she said,

"He knew if he died on this day we would never forget."

Are you wondering how on earth I could ever forget what day he died on? I have a really great memory but dates escape me. There was not a single of our 24 wedding anniversaries that we remembered (he suffered the same date-escape malady as me) and we would "come to" days afterwards and we would shake our heads that we missed our anniversary- yet again. Oddly, my new husband is hyper focused on dates. He is a widower and he takes his daughter out on the anniversary of his wife's death every year. There is no forgetting with him. He will likely come home with flowers for me tonight. Yellow roses. He is so sweet that way. It is kind of an odd little piece of being remarried to a widower. I love him so very much!

Thanks for listening. I am no longer young (and frankly when I joined the YWBB so long ago I used to bristle when it was sometimes suggested that to be a young widow you should be in your thirties or younger) and although I still feel pretty young overall things are happening to my body and the gray hair tells a story of its own. So, again thanks for listening to this old widow.

I will probably always have much to say. (this refers to my very first post on YWBB that was titled "much to say, no one to say it to")




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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 10:11:12 AM »
A thousand times thank you!  ❤️❤️❤️ 


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 11:00:49 AM »
Thank you! What a wonderful thing to read today.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.      ~ A. Einstein


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 11:01:29 AM »
Just beautiful.  Thank you for your thoughtful wisdom.



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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 11:24:33 AM »
This is a wonderful post Judy! I just passed 6 years so I can relate to a lot of it. I always feel I live with my husband by my side. I know he is there. I haven't recoupled. I have two kids 11 and 8. I am too busy for another person. One day, when the kids are older I may consider dating. For now I am content. I had a great love in life. It might have been short but I feel it is enough to carry me through life. I too see the signs he is still around.

Thank you for sharing,
My life is better because you were in it. You encouraged me to stretch my wings. I will forever be grateful. Rest in Peace Babe. Till we meet again.


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 12:06:54 PM »
thanks all. Eileen- I couldn't help but notice your Bob Marley icon. My John met Bob Marley when they were both alive. Got to hang backstage at a concert in New Orleans and even smoked a doobie with him. That was one of his favorite things!


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 04:38:40 PM »
thank you so much.
?There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.?

― Washington Irving


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 05:17:47 PM »

Thanks for your post today.

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 04:55:23 AM »
I'm always happy to see a post from you. Thanks for continuing to come here with "things to say".


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 09:15:19 PM »
What a beautiful post, Judy. I love the synchronicity and meaningfulness of your friend's shirt at your daughter's wedding. And congratulations to all, by the way!

I'm just over 10 years out. When I am a very old lady, the date of Jeff's death, and his birthday, will still have meaning, even if just for me and my children - who may well forget or not have it imprinted in their beings - which is also fine. I haven't been through a child's wedding yet, one day in the future hopefully. While not much a believer in the afterlife or signs in general, I have felt "something" on auspicious days like the numerous graduations that I've experienced from preschool to college. Maybe it's an internal fortitude, maybe some other sort of life force that has carried me through those days.

Love your writing and your thoughts. Thank you.
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2017, 03:55:55 AM »
Thank you for sharing.  I loved every word.   Thanks.


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 03:31:34 PM »
Beautiful! Sometimes I feel so blessed when I come to this site and find something I didn't even know I needed.


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Re: Still much to say. Here is where I say it.
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 01:27:29 AM »
Thank you.
This is a special gift you have given us.