Like every married couple, my husband and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on every single thing.
One thing we agreed to disagree on was the best way to die. He considered the way my Dad died nothing short of wonderful and thought the way his Dad died sucked.
It goes without saying that dying sucks no matter the circumstances, but there was always this ongoing debate as to whether it was preferable to know in advance that you were going to die, so that you could bid proper farewells to your loved ones or just “peace-out on-the-fly” as my sweetie put it in his hippie vernacular.
I would often get irritated with him after my Dad died because he would say,
“Oh Man! Your Dad would’ve loved the way he died! He really went out in style!”
My Dad died from a massive coronary at the age of 63, one July afternoon in 2001, after playing 18 holes of golf while eating a bowl of seafood gumbo at lunch with my mother — quite literally the three greatest passions of his life.
I always regretted that I did not expect my Dad to die so young and never really got a chance to wrap things up, so to speak. To say a proper goodbye.
Unfortunately, my hubby’s father wasted away from illness before the very eyes of his loved ones. While Jimmy always agreed there was indeed opportunity for “closure,” it was terribly painful to witness the suffering involved.
I know I’m selfish that I’m so hurt God took my Jimmy when and how He did. I guess he was God’s Jimmy and not my Jimmy. But, I know he would never have wanted to be taken from us so soon.
At just 54, we had far too many unrealized dreams. I know he wanted to float that last baby girl down the aisle. And he wanted to finish raising his sons. He wanted to see more grandchildren born.
Nonetheless, it’s really left me with a lot of unfinished business as I’m sure Y’all might imagine.
I lie awake every night and I wonder if I was actually a good wife. I wonder — if I had a crystal ball and I knew that he was going to die so young, would I have doubled down in some key marital areas? For instance:
-He would’ve taken me out to eat every night, but I said “no.” I was always on a diet.
-He would’ve done the hokey-pokey every night. I never said “no,” but sometimes I wore really, really ugly pajamas on purpose.
-He liked to travel, but I complained that it made me motion sick.
You get the picture.
So, the other night I did what any crazy widow — not entirely in her right mind would do — I started scrolling through all of our old texts. I was trying to analyze what kind of wife I was.
I feel like I’m losing perspective. Was I nice? Was I loving? Did I make him happy? Did I “do him well all the days of his life” like Proverbs 31 said I was supposed to?
Maybe our old texts would give me a clue…
I came across the following text and took comfort in the fact that I was schlepping around out there one day trying to get my man some sinus medicine — because we all know it’s kind’ve a pain in the arse. You have to show your ID so they know you’re not running a meth lab.
But, then I found this one. And it was painfully obvious that he was better to me than I was to him. Not that it was a contest or anything, but gosh…
I must admit I was somewhat encouraged when I stumbled across this little gem, however…
It’s pretty stinkin’ endearing and I think it speaks volumes about the depths of our devotion that he thought I was going to ferret out a recipe for something called “baba ganoush” and make it for him. I’m not sure where he was or who he was with on the 17th of January, but how cute is that? It kind’ve made my heart sing. Notice my response?
I don’t know if I was running for the cookbook or Epicurean.com, but what I think matters here and what I’m choosing to focus on, is that he believed I was going to make this concoction.
I can’t remember the last time I did anything meaningful with squash. But maybe I was going to make that stuff — you really never know with a person like me. I’m full of surprises and super loving, as evidenced by the sinus medicine effort.
Sometimes I tell myself I shouldn’t have let my children’s father ride that motorcycle —to the degree a wife really lets her husband do something. But I do know he loved me so much he wouldn’t have ridden if I had really pressed the matter.
But, like my Dad, he definitely died doing something he passionately loved. So, all that’s left for me is a lot of time to scroll around for evidence that I loved him like I was gonna lose him…