We met in 1973. I was three years out from a devastating divorce and now was at a place where I enjoyed my freedom, my children, and my life. I wasn’t looking for a new romance.
So when the barber who trimmed my three sons’ hair called me and asked if he could give my number to a customer who was new to the area and also divorced, I started to say “No way.” What came out was, “Why not?”
Jim called me that night and we talked for hours. He asked me out on a date. I accepted.
The minute I saw him walk up the drive I recognized him. No, I’d never seen him until that moment, but I knew at that moment we had been together before. It was like meeting a former lover after years of separation.
We saw “The Sword in the Stone” with the boys and after the movie we went to MacDonald’s for a snack. I remember he drove out the entrance and was stopped by a policeman. He did not remember this part of it, but I do. Jim was prone to drive the wrong way on one-way streets. He was always a little against the mainstream.
To my family’s astonishment, we married six weeks later. My mother moaned that it would never last.
We were married for 42 years.
We had our ups and downs. Raising three boys isn’t easy but he took on the task without flinching. I believe he came to think of them as his own flesh and blood. I know they looked at him as their father, their own father having but a sporadic influence on their lives.
He doted on the grandchildren when they arrived. If they had lived closer to us, he would have had them completely spoiled. As far as he was concerned, they were the smartest, best-looking and most talented children ever to grace the earth.
We were fortunate to have the coveted Golden Years together. In spite of our different interests, we always found time in the late afternoon to sit on the deck in summer or in the den in winter, share a drink and conversation. He had a brilliant mind and he made me stretch mine as we discussed reincarnation, the reality of heaven, and how he was going to shoot the d–n chicken if it came across the creek and pecked his tomatoes one more time.
He had a sixth sense about things. If I wanted to do something and he disagreed I could argue and plead all I wanted, but he stood firm. Eventually I would have to admit he was right. Every time. I finally stopped arguing and trusted his intuition.
He encouraged my writing and bragged to everyone that I was an author. He was my mentor and guide.
We never dreamed a simple fall would end like this. He had said more than once if a person broke a hip and entered a nursing home, they never came out again.
Once more, he was proved correct. In spite of surgery and intense therapy, his health declined. In the last days I knew in my heart that he could not go on, as much as he wanted to. As much as I, selfishly, wanted him to.
I have a hole in my heart as big as Texas. I want to scream and shake my fists at heaven.
Then I remember how frail he had become and I know my grief is not for him, but for me.
I knew him the minute he walked up the drive.
We will meet again. Until then, adieu my beloved friend and husband.
We will meet again.