Today is our 58th wedding anniversary. Our celebrations were always low key, but they will be lower than ever today. John is missing it, because he died on Saturday, the 11th. He and grandson David spent the weekend at the train club where they rode around the tracks and enjoyed being with other train enthusiasts. They were heading home in two cars, John going first. David saw John’s car wander slowly off the small road and cross to the other side where it ran over a stump and bumped into a tree. He was unconscious. Police and an ambulance were there quickly. Hospital people couldn’t get his heart started again. This sounds like sad, heavy news, but I firmly believe God chose the best time for him to die. He had done things he loved most, and he left a little early to get home so he could go to church the next day. I already think this was the best time for me to deal with this, too. I truly believe John is in heaven, already singing and praising God with his whole being.
Our wonderful neighbors were with me immediately. Many, many people were praying – neighbors, church members, family, and friends. For the first time in my life, I truly felt uplifted by prayer. God was taking care of me, too.
This is not a eulogy. In the next few days many people will talk about what a wonderful man John was and the marvelous things he did. I couldn’t begin to list the good deeds of the last 58 years. We will be celebrating all those things, and I will hear of some I hadn’t known before. It will be a celebration of a full life filled with love and joy.
The very day after his death I was laughing with neighbors about amusing things. John had a very good sense of humor, and we were always laughing together. He wouldn’t want me to cry and be seriously sober. I can almost hear his laughter from heaven.
This morning Shawn was sitting on her front porch when I went out to walk and joined me going to the stop sign. Neighbor Cindy passed us going the other way with her dogs. We needed to rest a leg, so I suggested we sit in Cindy’s yard. Her husband was sitting on the porch, so we asked if we could use his deck chairs. He was gracious and soon left in his truck. By that time, Cindy was coming home, and she joined us in the yard. Julie, who lives near me, came to greet us with her dog. What delightful company!
As Shawn and I came home, my brother Bob called. I sat on the porch and talked a blue streak with him and Beth. They patiently let me blather on. Bob offered to come for a few days, and a few hours later he was here. There was a heart-shaped cloud that formed in the sky, perhaps a sign of all the love floating about.
Former neighbor Connie and Shawn came to visit. Connie brought a list of things she dealt with after her husband died, and I know that will be invaluable. What a thoughtful thing to bring to a brand new widow!!
Shawn, Bob, and Logan came over with anniversary gifts – a lovely bouquet of flowers and a helium balloon.. They explained part was from them and part from our children and grandchildren. There was a long story about what went wrong when Bob picked out the balloons. The person didn’t know how to blow them up, and one escaped to the high ceiling of the store. The helium ran out, as did the backup canister of helium. It was a comedy of errors interspersed with long waiting periods. Lise called from Denmark as we sat visiting, so she was in on the party, too.
Fifty-eight years ago John and I embarked on our life together, celebrating with family and friends. Today that joined life is over. We are still celebrating, though in different worlds. For all of you who have been part of our lives, thank you for your love and friendship. God bless you.