I was driving today and flipped to WXCY, the local country station. I grew up listening to country music, but I’ve moved away from it the last several years.
This song came on the radio. I just cried. It brought back so many memories and thoughts.
One of my huge fears was that John would die while I wasn’t there. I hated to leave him. I remember sleeping on the air bed downstairs while he was in his hospital bed. I’d wake up from a sound sleep afraid something had happened to him. I didn’t want to wake him. When John was sick, he often slept for just a few hours at a time and never got enough sleep. I’d sit there and watch till I could see he was breathing and then I’d go back to sleep.
I hated when he was in the hospital and he sent me home. He didn’t want Nathaniel to be without a parent overnight. He worried that Nathaniel might wake up with a bad dream and not have a parent to hold him and comfort him. I could understand, respect, and honor that, but my heart wanted to be with John. I knew Nathaniel was in good hands. I was always terrified something would happen to John and I wouldn’t be there for him.
I can’t tell you how much it meant when AFD stayed with him for his IL2 treatments to make sure he was okay and always had a familiar face when he was receiving his treatments and suffering from the wicked side effects.
John’s last night was the only night he allowed me to stay in the hospital with him. It was getting late and I asked him if he wanted me to stay or go. In a small, weak voice he said he didn’t care. I lingered and asked him again. He said very quietly and softly, that he wanted me to stay. I’m so glad that I did. Neither of us knew it would be our last night together.
There is a gravestone at the cemetery that gets to me.
It’s not because Brown was my maiden name and it’s not because the wife’s first name is Mary. What gets to me is the difference in the dates of birth. The husband passed away in 1903. The wife lived till 1951.
Now, I don’t know Mary or Elwood’s story. In my head I picture a devoted wife living alone for 48 years. Forty eight years of sleeping alone in a bed. Forty eight years of being lonely. Forty eight years of missing her husband. Forty eight years of sadness. Left with just memories for forty eight long, lonely years.
Who knows what the true situation was. Perhaps Mary Emily Brown re-married and just chose to be buried with her first husband. Perhaps Mary Emily dated frequently, was the life of the party, and always happy. Who knows.
I just picture Mary Emily spending forty eight lonely years alone.
Here is John’s parent’s headstone
Ann lived almost ten years as a widow. I loved his mother dearly, but we rarely spoke of intensely personal things. I was too polite and respectful to ask and she didn’t volunteer. Only on very rare occasions did she tell me how much she missed Dave and I think that was after her terminal cancer diagnosis. It just wasn’t something that we really talked about. But, I often sensed that she must have been a different person before Dave died. I could tell that there was still a great sadness and that she missed him very much. For most of the time I knew her, she slept on the couch, rather than to sleep in their bed.
I think about my own life. At this point in time, I have no desire to ever be married again or even considering dating. John was the love of my life and he still is and always will be. John was a very special man- one in a million. Honestly, I don’t think anybody else could ever compare and when you’ve had it good you don’t settle for second best.
At the same time, I do hesitate to say never. But I do think that with confidence I can say, highly unlikely. I think that John is probably it for me. When you’ve had the love of your life, nobody else will ever compare.
John had told me that if I wanted to I could re-marry. The man just had to be rich and handsome. lol… Leave it to John to always have a sense of humor.
I do feel with great confidence that John would want me to be happy and that he trusts me to do the right things and to always put Nathaniel first (while he’s growing up) in any decisions that I make.
I hope to live a long time… hopefully at least another forty eight years… but, even though I may be alone, I don’t want to live in sadness. I want to smile, enjoy life, enjoy my son, my horses, spend time with friends and family, and always fondly remember John. Through some inner strength that I never knew I had, I think I’m doing okay with that most of the time.
I’ve learned, we never know how much time we have. I think it is important to live each day to the fullest. I don’t want to look back at my life and find that I wasted it with such nonsense as bad moods, hatred, or grumpiness. I hope that when I look back upon my life I will find that I had few regrets and can say that I lived a good life and was happy.
All that being said, back to the song… I disagree with the last part of the song. I don’t want John spending (hopefully) many years waiting outside Heaven’s gate. I hope that he went right through the pearly white gates, checks on us from time to time, smiles at us, laughs at me like he always did, watches over us and protects us from harm, and I hope that he enjoys himself up there- watches the Ravens play from seats that are better than our club level PSLs (and helps them out from time to time), goes on fire calls (just good ones- no BS calls), and has lots of time to ride his bike (with the wind at his back and effortless climbing), and hopefully he’s getting all of his World of Warcraft out of the way now!
When my time comes, I hope he’ll come find me and that we can be together and that we can be just as happy (if not happier- it is Heaven after all) up there as we were down here. But for now… I don’t want him waiting alone outside…
I think back to the movie, “The Lake House.” Where basically two people fall in love but are trapped in different times and not able to connect. Or at least that’s how I THINK the movie went… I fell asleep and had to watch about 3 times on “on demand” before I was able to catch the whole movie… lol…
I don’t understand how the ‘whole heaven thing’ works, but I certainly hope he’s not trapped waiting for me while I’m trapped missing him.