They had a life

People lose soulmates all the time. Many, perhaps most, reach a point where they can get on with their lives. Others never seem to move on.

This guy I know (I bet you do!) whose wife died just over a year ago is one of those who doesn’t seem to be able to move on. He’s still in that hospital room, sitting at her bedside, holding her hand, still warm in his. Until it wasn’t. He’ll tell you exactly how long it’s been — thirteen months and fifteen days.

He lives alone now, seldom goes out. There is one man he occasionally meets for coffee. The coffee guy lost his wife a couple of years ago. He shocked the solitary guy the other day when he said he had met a new woman — the love of his life, he said.

This astounded the other guy. He couldn’t imagine finding another love of his life and starting a new relationship.

It’s not that he wants to wallow in grief. He just doesn’t have the spark to ignite a new relationship. Compared to his coffee friend Mr Sparkplug, he’s a dead battery.

The life he had with his wife was like several lives, thirty-four years of sturm and drang, emotionally intense, tempestuous, tossed about on waves of tragedy — mainly the early death of a son.

In between the turmoil, they travelled the world, stayed in fine hotels and lived the life, as the saying goes.

…..

There were periods of time when they were apart, during which our hero (by which, of course, I mean antihero) tried to put his life back together. But they always ended up with each other. His wife was steadfast. She was always there for him. And he, in his own vagabond, messed-up way, was always there for her.

In the end they were together. The last three years of her life-draining illness he was her caregiver. When she was dying, as he held her hand, he told her he would love her forever. Sounds corny, perhaps, but he meant it with all his heart.

No other woman could take her place.

People used to say of his wife, “She’s very warm.” Now he looks for warmth in the fire he lights on winter nights, a bottle of bourbon on the coffee table and the memories — the good memories — of his wife and their life together.

Niels Arestrup as Michel, who still longs for his wife, in Angelina Jolie’s ‘By the Sea’

-30-

19 thoughts on “They had a life

  1. This is an incredibly beautiful post, the love for your wife, limitless and eternal. It shines through in every single word you’ve written. I hope the fact that your friend found another love gives you some hope.

    1. Rachel, your words always go to the heart of the matter — thank you. “Another love” is not in the cards, but no worries, solitude and memories are part of the healing process.

  2. Mr. Sparkplug here………..when I least expected it she came out of the Blue. In a matter of sixteen days we had become lovers, soulmates and kindred spirits. The following is a letter I wrote to her a couple of weeks ago:

    Tennyson said that “tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
    If you have never experienced true love then you have never felt whole and complete. At least that is what I have found to be true in my 78 years. I’m not talking about family. Love for your family is built-in to the fabric of one’s life. I’m talking about meeting someone, maybe someone who you have known casually, who, as they say, suddenly “rocks your world.” In my most recent encounters, the first being a three hour “getting to know you better” over coffee kind of thing and the second, a lunch date with her turned out to be for both of us, the beginning of an intense closeness that I haven’t felt as far back as I can recall. I asked her just the other day what had happened between the two of us and she said that she honestly didn’t know. I sure don’t either! Maybe it’s not important to know but to embrace and nurture the feelings that we have for one another. She is in my thoughts constantly, fueled by the way she holds her eyes when see looks at me or that smile that makes me feel so special. All I can tell you is that in just sixteen days, I have come to love this woman more than anyone could imagine. People on the street must notice the smile on my face sometimes and wonder what I’m thinking about. Or, maybe some of them just know! I hope of course, that we will be as one for ever. But if life comes along and somehow changes all of this, I will have known true love in its most perfect form. Oh, by the way, her name is Marie.

    I think that says it all. I honestly believe that many times, love happens when you least expect it!
    P.S. Your battery may not be as dead as you think. She (the charger) may be just around the corner!

      1. As close as I got to you was Redding, years ago, when I did a story on a mini gold rush for the now-defunct California magazine.

  3. I think that’s beautiful.
    There’s no right or wrong way to do life or after death. I think it’s all about heart and deeply that heart can feel. Stories like this highlight the deep hearts.

  4. Greif. An unavoidable part of the path. Our journey.
    Though I know she is not dead, she is not here.
    I have seen her. In my dreams … on the ‘other side’.
    She is happy. And will be there when I come …
    But to “Move on’.
    Life continues.
    Yes, let us cry. Let us mourn.
    But not forever.

Leave a Reply