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.
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.