For Rick

Rick, July 2011

This Holiday Season I worked very hard at making it joyous, well maybe not joyous, really I just tried hard for it not to forever become a sad time. Two weeks before Christmas my husband of 32 years passed away suddenly from a heart attack. When the emergency room doctor told me I said “No, you don’t understand, he’s the love of my life” as though that would change what was. It didn’t, it couldn’t, but in fact everything changed.

January 13, 1979

It feels as though family and friends immediately formed a sort of cocoon around me.  I was protected and safe from the world, but my world was gone. Rick was my world. We met when I was 19, married when I was 20 and said “I love you” every night before we went to sleep for all those years. He played music and I wrote poetry and we believed we could do that forever and in some ways we did.

There was a kindness and a gentleness in Rick that was seen at a glance. He was a quiet man. He believed in me and I in him. He mentored young engineers who told me of their gratefulness for his help. He encouraged anyone who wanted to play music and pushed them in his gentle way to practice and told them they could play. He coached baseball until the kids were old enough to need “real” instruction in the sport because what he was teaching was how to play and have fun. They didn’t win games a whole lot but they had fun and they knew what it was to be a team.

And he was a Dad. Our boys put aside their grief to comfort me. It was Rick who taught them to be good men, not by tales of heroic deeds, but by his actions. He taught them about kindness and power tools. That’s right, real men use power tools but they also have big hearts that can sweep you up and comfort and protect you from harm when you cannot help yourself. “Dad didn’t just fix things, he re-engineered them”, Richard would say. Indeed he did, but what his sons learned is you can always make things better.

In a blog posting, not too long ago, while on my road trip to Colorado I was greatly encouraged by family, especially being able to come and stay with them along the way so I wouldn’t be alone for the whole trip. I made the comment, that with such a great family I will never be alone. I lost that feeling, but only briefly, when Rick left this world. Rick had encouraged me in that trip, believing I could do anything. That it would be a great experience. He was right, it was and I believe it prepared me for this journey. But I was right too, I am not alone, all the love and support I have received has given me strength. I can do this.

11 thoughts on “For Rick

  1. Thank you, Barb. You were really so very lucky to have a love like that for such a long time, and one that can never to taken away now.

  2. Hi Barbara, Great tribute, you described Rick exactly how a knew him, a kind and quiet man who would help anyone in need. I could have passed as his brother in my own wedding photos from 1972. Same hair and mustache, although I think my lamb chop sideburns were a little bigger. It’s still hard to believe he’s not with us anymore he was a great friend to me. I have an awesome photo of Rick, Jimmy D and myself at a BBQ / Jam Session we met him at while out on the bikes. That will always be my memory of him. I’ll send it to you.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Barb. We miss knowing that Rick is playing his music or working on the property. His legacy is evident in the neatly stacked wood behind the house or the wonderful studio you and he built together. Our hearts are with you and our door is open, day or night. When you’re ready we would like to drink a toast to his masterpiece which is the lovely property next door to us.

  4. Great tribute from you Barbara. Thanks for sharing your thoughts to his friends and coworkers. His presence will always remain in your heart and provide comfort during time of need. His legacy will always be there through his friends, family, and the people whom he took the time to mentor. Always grateful for his time and his encouragement…

  5. life is wonderful, earth is a splendid place to visit.
    For some of us, it seams just a we get it figured out and make it
    how we want it, its over.
    But time continues on, make new lives and releasing lived ones,
    over and over—- until it is finally over.
    Witch unfortunately always comes in time.

    We were fortunate to spend time in our lives
    sharing opportunities and moments together. some brief but memorable
    Rick was a special friend to many and a warm hearted lover to his family,
    His presents will be missed.

  6. Just wanted to say thanks for the lovely tribute to your husband (and my former classmate at MVHS). Though we were never particularly close, I always enjoyed his company and the unique quality of his voice. I am now doubly sorry that I was unable to attend our recent reunion, as I am sure that I would have thoroughly enjoyed becoming reacquainted. I share your sorrow in his loss…
    Sincerely, Chris Ipsan

  7. Barb,
    I read this post shortly after you wrote it but had no idea what to say to you. I was so moved by how you put your thoughts onto paper. You express yourself so well in words and through your paintings. As I have been married for 38 years, since I was 21, I understand that journey. I marvel at how you have managed each day and month since your loss. I’m sure it has been hard and lonely but enjoy “talking” to you on FB each day and hope it has helped you not to feel too lonely.
    Christine

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