The only way to get over a death is by seeing it as a life completed, instead of a life interrupted.”
Colleen, our youngest, will be with me for the next week, and she has been such a help getting through the day. I popped over to the hardware store this morning to get out by myself and see what happens. Well, I survived. I went into the hardware store, and I came out with a box cutter. I have everything else!
My real target was Total Wine, as I ran out of my Empress 1908! Then back home to pick up Colleen and off to see Alex’s (our youngest grandson) soccer game in Long Beach. We saw Joe’s inlaws, Michele and Tony, and we all had a good cry. Michele and Tony enjoyed Sue’s company at our various get-togethers.
Joe dropped by after the game, and we went out to the local burger joint and shared more memories. Silly me, I figured they were kids and would order double burgers, so to keep up with them, I ordered a double burger. When the order was ready, the kids each had a junior burger, and they kinda look at ol’ dad as if to say, “What are you doing?”.
By 2:00 PM daughters, Michele and Robin joined the party, and we sat around the table, remembering Sue and going through old pictures. I dug our old albums from the 1970s when Michele was growing up with Mike and Sue. Colleen took a mess of photos of the images, so remember they are second-generation snapshots!
We all yacked and yacked until about 6:00 PM when we demanded the Silver Ghost take us to the Garden Grove Elks.
Zoom, like a flash we darted down the 22, careening into the Elks parking lot with sounds only heard in horror movies emanating from the wheel wells.
Walking into the Elks, one of our friends asked how Sue was doing and when I told them, I got a huge hug, and the rest of the lodge knew immediately what had happened. The bartender nearly lept over the counter to plant a hug on me and meet the kids.
Zack and Becca and the varmint, Remy, joined the party. During the two hours, we were there, many other friends came by to speak to the family and me. At the end of the stay, I was dry!
Around 9:00 PM, we departed the Elks and returned home to rest! Colleen watched TV in the living room, and I retired to the office to get tax documents ready for my March 10th meeting with the grim reaper. It will be the first time in 32 years I have done taxes with Sue by my side. I called Pamela, our tax person, to get a date and told her of Sue’s passing. She was shocked and assured me that we could do the taxes.
I am sure you know, my bride, Sue, passed Wednesday morning. I was by her side when she took her last breath. She saw me with those beautiful eyes and then, it was over. Shock and disbelief were an understatement. Robin had just left her side after an all-night vigil and giving me an all-clear signal that her vitals were looking good.
You and Otis were with Dad when he passed in 1970. I looked up some dates, and you guys were married July 24th, 1927, meaning you were married forty-three years. Sue and I would have made it to thirty-two years March 24th.
Every day side-by-side for three decades. We did everything together only apart for a few business trips.
I remember as if it were yesterday when the call came in about Dad. We had planned to move Dad to a convalescent hospital in Downey, but the Good Lord had his plans for Dad.
It was amazing how you and Sue and Sue’s wonderful mother, Rita, bonded when you met. With you two as friends, I knew I had made a great decision. As usual, Mom, you were right! As you know, Sue and Aunt Kaye, your sister, also bonded, and until this past year, we visited Aunt Kaye all the time.
You and I were blessed as you had love from both sides of the family plus Uncle Otis plus all of your dear friends. You and dad taught me well because moving forward three decades, blessed family and dear friends have also surrounded me.
Sue and I decided cremation was what we wanted, so in early April, the family (and some extended family) is going to place Sue’s remains in the ocean off of Newport. She will be joining her mother there, and I will be doing the same some time in the future.
Well, I am crying so hard now the tears are dropping into the word processor (I’ll explain a word processor in the future). You know Mom, Sue lived in agony for the last many years. Between cancer, heart bypass surgery, major back surgeries, the recent unexplained seizures, and facing two more joint operations, she was done. She often said, under her breath, “I can’t live this way” or “Why do I have to live this way.” I believe she was ready.
I love you, Mom!
At 10:00 PM, I stuck a fork in me, and I was done! I got ready for bed, turned on Sue’s new TV, and promptly fell asleep until 5:00 AM the next morning.