Still You Remain

Yesterday would have been your 73rd birthday if you had lived. If you had lived: words that stop me. In your honor, your son and I had our first cookout at the new house. The day was unnaturally warm for February. We pointed out the spots in the back yard, where you would have lain and absorbed the sun as you loved to do. Oh, my darling I will never get over you.

When we married we promised to love one another in sickness and in health until death do us part. Death may have parted us, but you remain like a rich residue in the bottom of my glass. Sometimes the memories of us make me laugh or cry. Grief is an ocean that comes in waves. Sometimes the water is soft and rolls over me, while other times the loss of you dashes at me and knocks me to my knees. So deep is my longing for your physical presence, not the presence of your diminished self after cancer got hold of you, but the one I first knew, Mr. Captain of the Universe, so certain of the world and your place in it.

I know you are with me, but I do not know what you make of my new life, new house, or new responsibilities. Yes, I recognize now how much you did for me even as you were not feeling well. You sheltered me from many realities of adulthood, so I could write and live the creative life. Now it all falls on me, but when I am in a new place and a certain practical wisdom comes to me about how to proceed, I know where this comes from. Your spirit guides me.

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