I take turns flogging myself for taking so long to understand what was in front of my face all along and celebrating the fact that I know what caused our pain.
We came to much understanding in the closeness of the last days of our till death do we part commitment that we made some forty-nine years, and the lion's share of a month ago on the Travis County Courthouse steps.
I remember being afraid. I asked myself why I was marrying this woman at this time. Truth be known she is probably the only woman in existence who would put up with me. I really wish we could have communicated better. Our life together would have been significantly better.
Neither one of us wanted to go onward alone. We went onward together, and apart, somehow it was just too frightening to let her inside my head, politics raised its ugly head and we discovered we were poles apart.
I am not complaining now about how it all coming to an end. It turned out to be what I had wished for thousands of times while staring at the ceiling with a yawning canyon between us, in bed together but completely alone.
I must recall all of this so you will understand exactly what happened before so you can feel the joy of the end with me. I thought my life was over when she told me she wanted a divorce just as soon as we got settled in Baton Rouge.
The move was a bomb that had exploded under my life scattering pieces of my soul over a multi-block area. I was in a vacuum when we arrived after leaving the lion’s share of my life behind in brittle fragments, a shattered window to the past.
Hopes and dreams left behind.
I was in shock!
We stayed one night in a motel; it smelled a bit on the musty side and had an obvious bullet-hole in the door made from the inside. From the low trajectory, I surmised someone dropped their piece onto the tile-covered concrete floor and it had gone off. That seemed to be the least threatening thought to entertain while we each settled into the double bed with as much distance between us as possible.
That night was long as thoughts tumbled over and over in the dryer in my mind. The past flickered past, a flash of a red shirt followed by the dark blue of wet denim which colored the rest of that night and most of the next day. My daughter came and moved us to another motel where we would stay until we could get into The Bluebonnet Towers.
As we switched motels, I could not imagine what lay ahead.
It has been over a year and a half, since last she visited me. I’ve missed connecting with her to become a fountain of words expressing ideas. Sometimes it was a good way to purge my soul. I miss that.
I was more than occupied, with my wife. It was strange how easy it was to let her become the center of my life. With Suzy gone now, I need my muse in my life again. My muse projects herself on the big screen in my mind. The screen is quite dark right now. I hope, I pray, for inspiration, a project with which I can fill empty hours doing something useful if only for myself. I’ve stopped dreaming about being an influence on others. Perhaps, I have nothing left to say. Years have passed accelerating as the numbers on my calendar became more impossible to understand. Where has all the time gone? Where is the realization of my dreams? Why am I in this two-room cell with memories and freshly preserved smells that carry me close to her for a moment in yesterday? She lives but a moment and then she is gone leaving me gasping for air in a brief part of today. Now!
I inhale slowly through my teeth, knowing there is no one else here to be annoyed by the sound.
My Wife passed at 9:50 last night. Her long and tortuous journey was over. At times she awoke from the deep coma where she sought brief respite from the struggles she went through to just stay alive. She came out from her resting place long enough to play canasta with this broken old man. Very few hands were enough to tire her out. She would ask for ice cream. This was a treat we had long denied ourselves because of cholesterol and weight gain. Toward the last, that didn't really matter anymore. I truly enjoyed tasting long forbidden pleasures, with my Green-eyed lady. Our life was difficult for sure but I will be eternally grateful for the lock-in precipitated something I would not have ever predicted. I discovered I was still in love with the tough old buzzard who pushed me away from ever touching her. With the healing of words enhanced by acts I knew she needed. Preparing a meal. adjusting her oxygen, or emptying her bedside commode, to helping her clean her bottom when she was unable, we talked about times long gone by. We both made apologies for the things we failed to do. She had pushed me away so many times that it became too much effort for me to approach her. When I became her caretaker I felt that it was a gift to be able to do anything for her. The slightest touch became electric. Sex was not part of the picture. when you are 78 years old it becomes redundant. Our souls touched in ways more intimate than we ever did in our sexual relationship. I am thankful for every second I had with her. I miss her. Even when she fussed at me because I couldn't change the weather, or banish the others that she saw and I couldn't. I answered a lot of (Who Is that?) questions. I never pretended to see what she saw, I just tried very to reassure her that I was with her and I was not going to go anywhere else. The night before she passed I crawled into her narrow little bed and held her. My voice seemed to calm her somewhat. It was wonderful, then the other her came back and shooed me away. I went to my bed feeling like I was loved by the green-eyed lady from so many years ago. Her eyes were still bright green when I checked her pupils after getting zero blood pressure reading three times. I knew it was over. I called my daughter, and the hospice service of Audobon Hospice and started the chain of events which was a finale to this woman's life which had touched so many others. She was a NICU nurse. She had no touch left for me until the end. Wow!
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