I wrote a book! Yes, really. It’s taken me more than two years because sitting still is so difficult when you live someplace as sunny as I do.
I expect to get it all put together and published later this year. It’s made up of blog posts I wrote over the course of time after my late husband died, interspersed with stories and thoughts I never wrote about.
I thought you all might enjoy reading some of the original posts and I’ll publish them here.
This one begins the book. It’s the obituary I wrote for Dave on the morning after he passed away.
Blog: September 19, 2008 – “Widow”
“Look, Bonnie”, Dave said, pointing at a day lily bud last summer. ”A tomorrow lily.”
David E. F–, 45, of Cleveland Heights passed on yesterday afternoon, surrounded by family and friends. He would probably say he went over the Rainbow Bridge, ratcheting down the tension and drama with typical skill. His beloved Kitty was present when he crossed and his adoring wife went as far as she could with him.
“Can I walk her down the jetway?”, Dave asked the gate attendant at the airport when I was too afraid to get on the plane alone a few years ago. ”I’m sorry sir,” replied the attendant. ”Ticketed passengers only.”
In addition to the widow, Dave is survived by both parents, a sister, a brother, both parents-in-law, a brother-in-law, 2 nieces, 3 nephews, 3 cats, and the many friends he loved.
“It’ll be alright, sweetie”, I told him before the medical staff removed the life-support tubes. ”You have your challenge to meet and I have mine. We can do this.”
Dave was the bravest man I ever knew. He knew what he believed, but heard challenges with an open mind. He wasn’t afraid to be who he was, even when that meant going against expectations. He valued his relationships and would work mightily to do things that were important to those he loved. He treated everyone with kindness and respect, and approached life with an unmatched sense of good humor. I seldom saw him get angry. He knew how to accept life for what it was and he could accept other people as is, with all their flaws.
That’s a good thing, because I have plenty of flaws. In the 12 years we were married, Dave taught me how to be calm. He was my anchor, showing me how to let things be as they were without feeling that a catastrophe was on the horizon. And even after he got sick, which qualifies as a real catastrophe, he didn’t lose his equanimity, kindness or humor. If we handled this situation with dignity and grace, it was only because I followed Dave’s lead. He had an uncommon ability to accept whatever came his way without anger or blame.
“It’s alright”, I said and kissed his forehead. He stopped the futile gasping for breath and his family and I watched his heart rate drop on the monitor. The morphine protected him from pain, but my heart pounded enough for us both.
Dave met his challenge yesterday and today I must meet mine, even if all it can mean right now is continuing to breathe. I only hope I can match the courageous humility with which Dave met his.
The funeral will probably be on Sunday. I will post the time and place here later today. Please come if you can. I want Dave to be able to look down at us and see how many people cared that he was here. These things mattered to Dave. Five years ago I held a 40th birthday party for him. He was surprised and delighted that just about everyone invited showed up. If he can see us now, I know he would be just as delighted to see people attend another event in his honor.
“Death doesn’t end relationships,” said the rabbi at Dave’s bedside. ”It changes them, but it doesn’t end them.” I’ll carry Dave with me, from here on out. My life is better for having known him and I wouldn’t have traded those 12 years for anything.
Title and Cover Coming Soon
Lisa Pence of Plume Graphic Design is working on the cover for me. Stay tuned to see what glorious images she comes up with. Lisa is a very talented print designer!