Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tonight I walked into Erin's bedroom and saw the picture I had taken of you and her at the state park when she was just five. You were wearing a navy blue t-shirt and jeans and had squatted down with your arm around her. She was wearing a pink, blue, and white striped sweater and a great big smile as she leaned into you.

I picked up Hadley, Erin's youngest, and walked over to the dresser. The memory of you tugged at my heart as emotion welled in my throat.

"Look. There's grandpa and mommy, Hadley."

She pointed at the picture. Too young at two to understand. I smiled. Wished you well. Then turned and went back to the kitchen to help Erin bake the pies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Your Birthday

Today is your birthday. In my mind, you are still young. I see you healthy and smiling, always upbeat. I wonder how you would have changed at 58. How we would have grown together with our kids and now our grandchildren. I know you would have loved them dearly, and they you. I wish they could have known you.

I just watched a video about some children who lost grandparents and parents. As they experienced their grief, their teacher encouraged them to, "Let people live in your heart. They live there forever." It's true. When you love someone, they leave an indelible mark on you. They become a part of you forever.

Though our lives diverged 21 years ago, I still carry you with me. When you were here, you assured me of your love every day through words and actions. Sometimes I have dreams that I am trying to get to you, but you don't recognize me anymore and your love for me is no longer the same. I imagine you walking into a room, but a lifetime has passed and how would we ever connect again? There would be so much to tell each other that we didn't experience together.

Then I have to stop dwelling on those thoughts because they only cause me to doubt what I once knew so well, you and your love.

In two days, it will be the anniversary of our marriage. I always feel melancholy this time of year because of the benchmarks of our life together. But I wouldn't have traded a moment of our union. I cherish that you were once my husband and that I was your wife. You left a mark, an impression on my life that can never be removed. You will always be with me, part of me, and for that I am deeply grateful. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Happy Birthday. Happy Anniversary. I love you. Thank you for entering my life and for all the love that you brought to me and our children.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Last Time

I took the First Avenue exit off 55 and headed north. Traffic was light, but we weren't in a hurry. You were being re-admitted to the hospital. We felt defeated, but didn't talk about defeat. Hopeless, but not yet willing to admit that all hope was gone.

You were tall and always seemed to fold into the Honda, even with the seat slid back as far as it would go. I tucked my hand along the edge of the seat, near your thigh. Left hand gripping the wheel, I steered the car through the gentle curves. We passed the entrance to Brookfield Zoo, stopping at the light. And when I turned and looked at you, I knew.

This is the last time we will make this drive together.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In The Silence

It was comforting to hear your voice. On the days I didn't see you, we talked. The number to the hospital, to your room, was a lifeline. One evening, I called. I pictured you in the isolation unit that had been your home for over a month. You were getting stronger; your blood counts were coming back, slow but sure. Hopefully, you would be coming home soon. As we talked, I stretched the long phone cord out the door and sat outside on the step.

It was nice that day. The sun was shining and it was around dinner time. We talked about how you were feeling. You asked about the kids and how my day was. There was a pause in the conversation and you spoke, "What's that sound?"

I wasn't sure what you were talking about, then realized you must have been hearing the birds singing.

"It's the birds. I'm outside on the deck."

Then it hit me. I pictured the sealed, heavy plate glass windows in your room. You hadn't heard birds singing for nearly 6 weeks.

I turned the receiver away from my cheek and grew silent. Together we listened in a moment of intimacy that neither of us wanted to end.