Letter to Barbara on First Anniversary of Her Death

My Dearest Barbara,

It has been very hard for me to go on without you, but I know a year ago it was necessary for your life energy to leave your body and become part of the cosmos.  It was your time to die, and I am glad I was able to be with you to tell you goodbye and that I loved you.  Remember how we did that every day that we were together?  Well, you were not going to leave without my telling you that on our last day together.

I just want to let you know that your decision to share your life with me was the greatest gift you could give me.  I felt loved  every day, every hour, and every minute we were together.  We both worked hard to make each other happy, and yet it came easily and didn’t seem like work.

Now that you are gone I have to work at living without that synergy that we had in which the sum was greater than the parts.  It’s a lot harder and not nearly as much fun, but life is a gift, and I keep the message you wrote on my 65th birthday card in my mind always when you said, “You have accomplished a lot, but you have a lot more to do.  Now get busy!”  I bet you didn’t think I would be here 12 years after you wrote that trying really hard to follow your advice without you, but I am, and your words give me encouragement to go on.

I still cannot believe we were together for 35 years because it seemed to go so quickly.  When we were working and looking forward to retirement, it didn’t seem to be going by so fast, but those 13 years together after retirement went by fast.

Remember how we used to come home from work every day to have lunch and get away from work?  It was a quiet time that we both needed to have a little down time before facing work for the rest of the day.

I never ceased to admire your courage in dealing with your many health challenges and surgeries.  Your strength always surprised me because your sweet, kind, and loving personality didn’t overtly show your courage and strength, but it was the foundation of who you were, and I admired that.

In spite of your medical problems, we had fun.  We flew together when I was actively piloting.  I will never forget when you told me that you always wanted to fly through a cloud.  I found the perfect little cloud for you, and we flew through it together.  We sailed together in our sailboat.  I loved the overnight trips where we just motored out near the island of Palm Beach and anchored.  We sat together having wine and cheese and watched the sun go down as the city lights came up.  Then there were the overnight Gulf Stream passages to the Bahamas.  I remember the sun coming up as we approached Memory Rock near West End after a night crossing.  You came topside not feeling the greatest because of the rough seas from a little storm.  I remember all of our trips out west in our van, then our travel trailer, and finally in our motorhome that was our home away from home.  How many places did we go?  The caverns in Texas, White Sands, New Mexico.  Mount Rushmore.  You loved the Badlands of South Dakota.  I was surprised at that.  The Painted Dessert.  Chaco Canyon, The Grand Canyon, the cliff dwellings in Arizona and New Mexico. Arches in Moab, Utah,  The Four Corners. Our favorite, Glacier National Park.  Our funny experiences in Canada when we crossed into Alberta on our way to Banff when you discovered that I had been driving with an expired driver license for one year.  The trip we made out west with our parents when your dad said he would never say he was from the mountains again after viewing the Rockies for the first time.  We had such good times together and were such a great team when traveling.

I remember how you loved our granddaughters.  When Kaitlyn was little, you gave her such love and attention.  Then Amanda came along, and you had just as much love for her.  Then Elyse came into our lives, and you were able to enjoy and love her until Alzheimer’s made it hard for you to interact.  I just want to make sure the girls remember how much you loved them and how proud you were of all their accomplishments.  I remember you had your grandma’s “brag” photo album you liked to carry in your purse so you could show photos whenever the opportunity arose.  You didn’t like using your smartphone for that.  I wish you could see what strong, smart young women the girls are becoming.  You would be even prouder of them and would have a lot more to brag about.

I don’t think it is possible for me to capture all of the things we did together and the love we shared.  I loved you for 35 years, and even though you are gone, I still love you as much as I did when you were with me.  It’s very hard to go on without you, but I am trying to follow your wish for me to “get busy.”  I know you would want me to enjoy the gift of life, but I am just a man and a man who has lost the love of his life.  My dearest, darling Barbara, I know that if I could travel the universe and search among the stars and galaxies, I could never find you and never will, so I have to carry you with me in my heart and I will do that for the rest of the days I have.  I get some comfort in knowing that when my time is up, my life energy will be transformed just as yours was and I too will become part of the cosmos.  Perhaps we will ride the same light beam into a rainbow together some day in the future.  My dearest, sweetest, darling Barbara, I love you with all my heart and soul.