Lately it is hard for me to keep it together. It has been 1 year, 2 months and 20 days since Rick ‘moved to paradise’ and in the past 5 days I have been in tears twice at our Department of Motor Vehicles while trying to change the title on Rick’s car. And mind you, not from frustration in the paper process. I have been in tears and unable to speak with the phrase “My husband passed…”.
While driving through town to put gas in my car at dusk I saw an elderly couple, probably in their late 70s, out for an evening walk. And I lost it again. I don’t get envious when I see a young couple, obviously enamored with each other walking together or perhaps exchanging voluminous, passionate looks. Rick and I discovered that, kindled and celebrated that, for all our days together. But seeing that sweet couple, moving a bit slow and tentative but so connected it was as if I could see the golden thread that held their shared history…well that made me envious and so sad.
In all our fun, mischievous, serendipitous adventures I took it for granted there would be those far off days when we would celebrate our shared history and the details of our voluminous, passionate looks would be a mystery to onlookers but familiar yet still special to us.
I always had an image of what 70+ year old Rick would look like; a silver fox with a twinkle in his eye, spry and a bit impish. I looked forward to old age with him, it was part of our wedding vows, a promise. And as I passed that sweet couple my eyes filled with tears as I looked at the dusky sky. I was so sad as I filled my gas tank and drove home as the sky changed it’s robe from hues of orange to those of violet and streetlights came on. The garage door had barely closed completely when the electricity went out, due to our heatwave and the demand for A/C, fans and TVs.
I always buy new garden solar lights in the Spring and the glow in my patio beckoned me as I powered off every electronic device I could think of inside the house. I found a package of tea lights & my butane lighter. I began to light my 14 assorted votive holders to add to the comforting glow.
I was reminded of so many late Spring through early Fall evenings when our patio looked like a Faerieland due to of all the patio lights. And rather than feeling sad or lonely the familiar energy and delight in my patio Faerieland made Rick feel present, appreciated and celebrated.
Suddenly I recalled the main message of a recent meme: “light shines brightest in the dark”. I may not have had the transference of Rick’s warmth sitting by my side or holding my hand but the golden glow of candlelight and the display of energy in the dance of the flames could not be overlooked. As much as I wanted Rick and I to grow into a sweet old couple, Rick had wanted it even more! And though Rick may not be walking with me until my last days I walked with him until the end of his earthly journey. So I thought of all the thousands of everyday and spectacular moments of our love and life throughout 20 years together. All the bright times we loved to remember together.
If each moment had a light and they were all displayed in a dark field what a wonderful, magical sight to behold! I would never be able to count them all but the combined glow of all those thousands of lights, and their myriad of hues is something I’ll always see in my mind and heart and know Rick appreciated them as well. We shared and celebrated those moments of light often. So I hold that precious image in my heart and soul, and I feel so much love and gratitude surrounded in a garden of lights, the darkness relegated to the far corners.