“Christmas” thoughts..

December 24, 2010

I don’t even know if I should really type this, but I have been writing all week. This has been a tough week for all of us, but it’s been overwhelming for me. When I hear that some men are re-married 13 months out, I wonder why I’m stuck in this rut. But then again, I had 25 great years of marriage, and I can’t imagine moving along from that that quickly either. So perhaps I need to write down some thoughts or memories that I’ve kept up in my mind for the past week..

My wife was an amazing woman. The greatest gift I will ever receive is the love of one woman who saw my faults and loved what she saw anyways. Together, we made “the future”, as she liked to call our four incredible kids. And it’s in that that I now miss so much..

I miss the way she’d sit in the crowd and cheer on T.J.’s Little League games. She had a “you’ll get it next time” attitude that always made losses easier to handle.

When Whitney went off to summer camp at the urging of some of her friends, Caroline was the first one she talked to when she became homesick. The gentle reminders of, “we’re here. We love you. Just remember we’re not far away,” helped ease Whitney’s worried soul. She stuck it out the rest of those three weeks away.

Zoe fell down the stairs when she was 4 years old. She had to have stitches and a lot of soothing. Caroline stood there with her, stroking her hair, telling her that “Mommy was there”, and Zoe was a trooper that day.

I remember when Abby first learned to walk, I was at the course. Caroline called me and said I needed to get there quickly if I wanted to see our girl’s first steps. I finished up what I was doing, angry at myself for knowing that at least 45 minutes had passed since Caroline called. I got home, and I saw Caroline rocking a sleeping Abby in the chair. Knowing I wouldn’t be there right away, Caroline rocked Abby away for a nap. Two hours later, she woke up, and I saw my baby’s first steps for myself.

It’s hard to say goodbye to knowing there will be no more memories made with her in them. I have those in my mind that I run through time and time again that’s just us..

the late night conversations that usually ended up with me asleep

the fooling around early on a Saturday morning that usually led to paranoia when we’d hear a soft knock at the door followed by, “Mommy, Daddy, are you up?” (and if one of my children should read this, how do you think you got here?)

holding her right hand as we walked, always the right, because she always said she liked the feeling of my wedding ring

watching how her brave character melted into scared uncertainties once the door was closed and the reality of cancer became too much

I want those times back, even the scary ones. But why would I be so selfish to think that she’d want to leave Heaven for this…even if it’s us..

Perhaps I need to begin the process of letting go. Essentially, I’ve been doing it since that day in 2006, when the doctor told us what we already assumed, ‘…it’s cancer…I’m sorry….you two should figure out a good way to tell the children….I’m so, so sorry…’

But letting go is hard. It’s tough. It’s the most difficult part of life, at least for me…letting go of the past…embracing an uncertain future…without her in it

Emotionally, spiritually, I feel her…and much of how I parent our children relates directly back to her, but I’m the one who has, and will, take those graduation pictures. I’m the one who listens, tries to at least, to the “boy” stories my girls tell me about..the one who will one day watch those three princesses find their own Prince Charming and settle down into a life together..the one who will tell them that their mother is looking down at them in those dresses of white….as happy for them as the day she herself took a chance on a foolish little lanky (at the time) kid like me.

I’ll listen to T.J.’s stories of meeting “Mrs. Right”, and know what both of us know…Moms are always your first love….

One day, perhaps, I’ll bounce grandchildren on my knee. I’ll become Papaw…or Pop-Pop…and I’ll teach those children the art of golf..the way I learned it when I was a boy…the right way…the proper way..before commercialism took hold of the game…back when it was a game…

I’ll teach those children their history…how it all began with one good ol’ boy from Michigan who met a Southern Belle…and together..they made a wonderful life….

Looking ahead, the future has potential…uncertain as it seems…perhaps I will one day learn to embrace it…

When Caroline died, a large part of my heart died along with her…a piece that’s gone forever…but there are still pieces of my heart left….left to love with…to feel passion with…to believe with…to hope with…that even though I wake up wanting her by my side….I can still feel her with me…and that….I hope never leaves…


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