“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”~Proverbs 19:21
Less than a month ago—straight out of the clear blue sky—you announced you were going to, “Go the way of Paul McCartney…”
I don’t think there’s another soul on Earth who would have instinctively, intuitively, instantly understood the shorthand of your meaning when you said that, but I immediately knew.
We picked up on the finer subtleties of each other’s nuances for 35 years in the way that most couples do. I knew exactly what you meant. Gosh—we could’ve won a lot of money on a game show.
You went on to explain yourself anyway…
“I don’t want to spend anymore nights away from you.”
You were tired of traveling with your job. You loved your work, but half of the restaurants you supervised were in other cities and you were weary of spending too many lonely nights at The Holiday Inn Express telling me good-night over the phone.
You said you’d been thinking about it and you just didn’t believe in it anymore. Not for us anyway. “Life is too short,” you said.
We had often discussed the great love affair and devotion that former Beatle Paul McCartney had for his wife, Linda Eastman McCartney. Rumor has it the only night they ever spent apart was when Paul was incarcerated in Japan on drug possession charges.
We were intrigued by their rarified devotion to one another. Especially for celebrities.
We also discussed on many occasions how prophetically ironic it was that Paul was so committed to her since he could never have known she was destined to die so tragically and unforeseeably young from breast cancer.
Not long after you made your proclamation, you arranged for the promotion of someone younger you trusted within the company to take over those restaurants that required travel, even if that meant sacrificing a little of your influence and power in the workplace.
I was surprised and yet not at all surprised. I know you were at a point in your career where you felt like you had earned the right and had nothing left to prove.
That was just a few weeks ago. We were so close to our “McCartney Plan.” We could almost reach out and touch it. Gracie even gifted us with a Paul and Linda McCartney Coffee Table Book for Christmas, which will forever remind me of how our love story was so similar and parallel to theirs.
Back when you traveled, you’d often fuss at me when you arrived home to find I had turned the air conditioner setting on full-blast and then plugged in our heating pad and placed it on your side of the bed to pose as my PROXY HUSBAND over there radiating pretend body heat to keep me warm.
But I was just so accustomed to a lifetime of you keeping me warm and secure at night.
Our kids always got entirely grossed–out when I told people in public that you and I slept curled up around each other like a litter of newborn kittens. They were particularly offended when we referred to ourselves as spooners…
Remember our first apartment? We couldn’t afford a bed AND a couch so we had a twin bed that we set up to look like a couch with throw pillows on it by day and then we slept on it at night. So basically, we slept together in a twin bed the first three years we were together.
My mom, who had the gift of prettying things up with language, called it a “Studio Bed” And, didn’t we think that sounded so chic and sophisticated?
Most of our friends were surprised we never graduated to a King sized bed all those years we were married, but I remember it like it was yesterday when we finally moved up to a Queen.
I was kind of sad about it.
And I think we only finally relented to the call of the Queen mattress because all our darn kids insisted upon sleeping with us. We were constantly waking up with a toddler’s toe stuck inside one of our nostrils.
Anyway… I really miss you curled up around me now. It’s truly unbearable at night. So I hope you don’t mind, but I’m running the air conditioner at full blast in February and I’m setting up my makeshift “Heating Pad Hubby” on your side of the bed.
He doesn’t snore.
He doesn’t get inadvertently tangled up in my hair.
He doesn’t reach out for me in his sleep for a snuggle.
I’m resigned that he will never croon “Baby I’m Amazed,” in my ear.
But, he does his bit to put off a little heat from your side of the bed, which works to fool me as I sleep that maybe you are still there beside me…
**Editor’s Note: Leslie’s husband was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident two weeks ago. See more from her journey of navigating grief with grace and perseverance here.