Nine Years

My older daughter emotionally posted Monday, “Lord, get me through Wednesday and I will be okay for another year.” My younger daughter responded, I’m with you sis.” My three boys are unusually quiet. I continue to cope.

Today — the Wednesday Dee referred to — is the ninth anniversary of the death of their Mom and my Wife. It was the day that changed our lives forever … or at least forever in earthly terms.

I’ve been through the details before. If you’re interested, just page back to this date over the past five years.  The details are the details. More important are the memories … and there many, well over 40 years worth. Karen touched her family in so many ways.

While I’ve navigated — and continue to navigate — through the stages of grief, I haven’t lost sight of the fact our future was cut short. As I’ve said before, this was supposed to be OUR time. As countless widows and widowers following long relationships can attest, there is a hole in your heart. It closes over the years, but you still wear the scar.

I try to keep a positive attitude and project it to the family. They see right through it. I try to support them as they journey through the grief process, but each one approaches this day with a flood of emotions. I tell them to dwell on the memories — they can never be taken away from you — and not the loss. I wish I could salve their hurt, but, unfortunately, the best I can come up with is death is a real part of life.

Karen wrote each of us a personal “goodbye” letter. In her letter to me she wanted me to make sure each of our children knew, though she made a lot of mistakes along the way, she did her best and above all, she loved them with all her heart and soul … unconditionally. Take that to the bank!

Death isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the end of a chapter. Spoiler alert. The ending is spectacular.

To be honest, some days it doesn’t seem like nine years. The events unfold like they were yesterday. On other days, it seems sooooo long ago. But the reality is it has been nine years of mood swings, of moving on, of holding back.

Don’t let anyone fool you into believing life goes on after the death of someone with whom you intimately shared your life with for any length of time — in my case 40 years — dies. It doesn’t go on … it changes. There is a piece of you that dies as well. It’s not all gloom and doom. It’s just different. Karen’s imprint remains indelibly on my heart and life. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about her … sometimes with a smile, others with a grimace when I remember where I failed and still others with a tear or two.

Yes, I certainly miss her. But even more, it saddens me she never got the chance to meet three of her grandchildren or her two great-granddaughters. Even as I move forward, there is a twinge of sadness Karen isn’t sharing those adventures.

There is a Funky Winkerbean cartoon that pretty well sums it up. I look at it — tattered and torn as it is — every day. Les Moore lost his wife to cancer and he is driving with his daughter Summer. She asks, “Dad … Do you still miss Mom?”

Next frame, Les responds, “There hasn’t been a day. But after a while, you begin to understand …” Jump to frame three. “… That you can’t let your grief become the substitute for the one you love.”

I still treasure my last letter from my wife and am awed by the wisdom and grace she displayed. “You always told me to ‘stop and smell the roses.’ Thirty years ago I wondered where you thought I would find 30 seconds to do that; now 30 years later I wish I had … The song Celine [Dion] sang, Because You Loved Me, puts into words what I never could. It is how I always felt for you …”

Right back at you, Babe!

We always kidded each other. I would say “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone” and she would respond, “No, no, no. You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”

Once again, she was right.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. — Napoleon Hill

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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15 Responses to Nine Years

  1. My heart goes out to you and your family, and my prayers are with you.

    My wife will soon be in the same position, and I don’t now if I’m making it harder or easier for her – even I realize that it can’t BE easy – by living the Hard Man Paradigm.

    Violent death (and the possibility thereof) attended much of my life, and while it doesn’t exclude sentiment, it does exclude sentimentality…and I am learning that sentimentality is not a fault. It’s what gives a black-and-white world colour, and what makes survival worthwhile.

    I’m not sure I can change myself, but at least I CAN avoid making wisecracks about horrible symptoms and about death itself. Maybe I can still laugh at the whole mess inwardly, but learn to develop at least an outward compassion that might, if I live long enough, warm my gunmetal soul.

    As you can see, you really made me think. Thank you for this.


  2. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    This has to be shared. Beautiful thoughts, reflection, and honesty. Real blogging. -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their post.


  3. akankshaagr says:

    Really some wounds can’t be healed with the passage of time


  4. This was a sensitive, inspiring post, so beautifully written. Thanks for that, and to Jason for sharing it.


  5. Elizabeth says:

    What a lovely tribute to your wife! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  6. My sixth grade home room teacher wrote that on my final report card for the year except that she wrote “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” I’ve always remembered it, and I still have that report card in my treasure chest.


  7. Pingback: A Look Back | Father Says…

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