The saddest event in the past 40 years of my life was when I sent the following e-mail to friends and relatives:
This is to advise you that my 98 year old sweetheart and wife for 40 years passed away on Sunday night (9/27/09) and left me to spend the rest of my days without her comforting presence.( God, how I miss her.)
In searching for solace I found these words in a lovely old song:
“What lonely hours the evening shadows bring,
What lonely hours with memories lingering,
Like faded flowers life can’t mean anything
When your lover has gone”.
While these words fit my melancholy mood they did little to ease the pain in this old heart of mine and as I searched further I found the following poem, one that I had written for a friend back in 1993 that seemed to be using the old phrase I so often use in my writings which in effect is saying: “Don’t be in such a hurry Bill, just hold your tater for a while”.
The Passage of Time
I searched for words of solace,
Words in which could be confined
One’s grief in love’s passing,and Only four could I find.
They offer relief from pain and sorrow,
Not for today, nor for tomorrow,
It is in the waiting my friends
That solace you will find,
Tis in the slow passage:-
“The passage of time.”
Time is the supreme healer
For wounds of the heart,
It answers not the questions
Of why, or of what —
Of where did I fail, and
What I did not? —
The Comforter will come
So be patient my friend,
And as in past ages
Your grief He will mend.
Soon you will discover
That His treasure sublime
Is in that seemingly slow passage:-
The Passage of Time.
So in taking a dose of my own medicine I have tried to stay busy working on items in my computer and lo, not only did I find some semblance of peace and comfort but I also found a tribute to Alma that I had written long, long ago that she would not allow me to publish. Now that she is gone, and her daughter approves, I am publishing my long ago tribute to a lovely lady (remember now--this was written long ago):
TRIBUTE TO ALMA
For years I have written stories using myself as the central character.Today I am going to make a 90 degree turn and make my roommate, my wife and sweetheart the central character. Oh, this does not mean that I have not mentioned her in any of my previous writings for I have included her in many of my stories.
Most of those inclusions were intended to be humorous even though she never saw the humor in them. Many times I have accused her of speaking with a forked tongue or shooting herself in her foot, however since getting into this writing business I have found that a columnist will pick on just about anything or anybody to find enough fodder to fill a column.
The search for column fodder has led me to pick on our cat Higgins, my nearby neighbors, various members of my kith and kin and now to top it all off it looks as if I am wanting to use the memories of my wife as fodder material.. This will not be easy because in the past she has said “Is nothing sacred to you? Do you have to include me in your stories?”
Well sir, this remark sorta raised my hackles just a bit and I replied “Now wait just a dadburned minute, what are you fussing about? Hellskafuzzy, haven’t I made you as well known as Higgins and Jackie Whoo? Haven’t I bragged on you as the best cook in town, declared you valedictorian in the field of leftovers, identified you as one of the six who help with my writing, told everybody in the county that I think you are the prettiest woman (of the older set) in town and elevated you from just plain housekeeper to the status of “ramrod” of our 30 oak tree spread on Wall Street? Seems to me that I am the only fellow in town who brags about his wife in the newspaper. So tell me please, just what more could you want?”
Oh, so you,like Greta Garbo, “vant to be left alone”.....sorry but I just can’t do that—you are worthy of a column and I am going to see that you get one.
Alma, bless her heart, is slightly older than I, 27 days older to be exact, and you will notice that I preface every thing I say about her with a “bless her heart”. I am told that this is an old southern adage that allows one to say complimentary things and even in some cases make derogatory remarks about a person without being rude as long as “bless her or his heart” is included in the dialogue.
Alma has macular degeration and has lost so much of her vision that she can no longer read books, newspapers or letters. Most of her idle time now is spent listening to books on tapes and they are such a blessing to her for while I am out playing dominoes or working on my computer she listens to books.
She has one companion during the day and that is her cat “Feller”( a replacement for her old cat Higgins.) And, having learned cat talk while Higgins was living she converses with Feller just as if he were a person. In spite of her age and loss of vision that old gal of mine, and here again I will add “bless her heart”, can see enough to find her way around the house. However she no longer has to get up every morning to fix breakfast and she no longer brings my morning coffee to the throne room as reported in an old article I called “Retired Royalty”.
She washes dirty clothes two or three times a week and still keeps the house spick and span as she has for the past 36 years by doing her own house work daily with one exception. She now enjoys having a very nice lady come in Mondays through Fridays and keeps the house clean from top to bottom.
The biggest joy and blessing of her life is her daughter Glee who lives sorta ante-goglin across the street from us.. I have never before seen such comradeship and love as those two people share. Glee comes over for a visit with her mother at least once a day and calls her on the telephone at least once and sometimes more often..
Their conversations have been going on for the 35 years they have lived across the street from one another and it amazes me how they can talk for hours just like two school girls and I always wonder what in the sam hill they are finding to talk about. Glee is wonderful with her mother, she takes her shopping both in town and at Wal Mart and is much more help to her mother at the grocery store than I could ever be.. For while I am off riding around trying to pick up some of the things on her list Glee stays with her mother and reads the food labels for her her.
At that point I stopped my praises, thinking I would finish later, but now that she has gone I am consumed by loneliness and words fail me.
Because of that loneliness together with a couple of e-mails thanking me for MOSTLY MEMORIES I have decided to keep that column of memories going as long as I possibly can. Some of the memories coming your way then will be very old, some dating as far back as 1917, but at least they will be memories.