Friday night we officially said goodbye to Red. I spent the morning assembling three bulletin boards full of photos that made me realize again what a very beautiful woman I spent the last quarter century with. I collected a pair of her soiled work gloves, some gardening tools and several garden hats to display by her urn. And I packed a small table she refinished and beautifully decorated to show off her artistic touch.
Speaking of the urn, I thought I was holding together remarkably well until I turned the corner into the room where her earthly remains were stored in that pretty lavender colored container. Sometimes the grief creeps up on you, and sometimes it’s a sucker punch. This was definitely the latter; I was unable to function for a few moments and had to sit down.
A comforting number of people were able to make it — if you didn’t, no worries, I understand — some from a great distance. We cried, we laughed, and mostly we remembered one very remarkable woman. I am not worthy of such a woman, but she took me into her life anyway, and I am forever blessed as a result.
Several of my friends have lost their own wives and came to support me because they have lived through the same nightmare. It was good to see them and I hope to see them again soon.
Tomorrow as I write this, and today as you read this,I begin living my “new normal.” I wonder what that will be like. It feels pretty empty right now, and it’s up to me to fill it back up. Onward and upward, I guess.