I like to show my love with a quilt. I guess I just assume that if you receive one you will realize how much I care about you.
I did not have a wonderful childhood. My father was a heavy drinker and not a happy one. Beat my mom and siblings and I more than I care to remember. When we were finally out of his grip, I feel like that’s when my life began.
I met my husband when I was fifteen years old. A blind date on my fifteenth birthday actually. I have a picture.
We were so young. We fell in love and dated throughout my high school years. We were married when I was 19 and celebrated our 39th Wedding Anniversary on July 27, 2013. That was also the year he turned 60.
Life is funny. You feel young for so long and then all of a sudden you are turning 60. We couldn’t believe it. We had moved to Florida from Upstate New York in 1998 and he missed his family and friends, so I decided to throw him a big party back there so he could see them all again. One night when he was in his lazy boy recliner and I was on the couch, our nightly positions, he asked me why I was doing it. We were not “party” people. This was a big thing for us. He smiled at me and said, and I quote, “Why are you doing this Hon? What do you think I’m going to die or something”? I was shocked. I yelled at him. No I do not think you are going to die! Why would you say such a thing? He just smiled.
Life was not always wonderful with us, but I loved this man. The last ten years of our marriage were definitely the best. I had survived breast cancer, a broken hip and wrist and numerous other things and I think he was starting to feel like he would lose me to my health. He treated me like a frail flower. He would help me over curbs! I would say oh come on I’m fine and he would say don’t be mad. I love you and want to keep you safe. We had come to have a deep respect for each other and life was good.
We had our daughter a year into our marriage. She was such a good baby and so beautiful. We loved her so much. I wanted her to have the life I never had. I always made sure she had the prettiest clothes and mounds of gifts at Christmas. Her father worked nights for a good part of her childhood and we spent most nights alone. We would eat our dinner in front of the TV watching Little House on the Prairie and other favorite shows. I would help her with her homework. I tried to be a good mom and always thought I was. I look back on my parenting days all the time and just don’t get it. I mean I feel, like most parents, I just did my best. I wanted her life to be better than mine. I wanted her to be an independent woman. And, I guess, I have accomplished that. She doesn’t need her mom. Doesn’t need to share her day with her or hear her voice. Makes me sad.
On November 6, 2013, my husband died. I remember every minute of that day. I remember my daughter dropping the kids off, cause I always dropped them off at school on my way to work. He joked around with them before we left. I gave him a kiss goodbye and told him to have a good day. He said the same. Just a routine morning.
I got a call about 9:45 am from his boss that he had collapsed and they were taking him to the hospital by ambulance. As I rushed to my car all upset, I made myself calm down cause I knew he would not like it if I was like that when I saw him. When I got to the hospital he was already there and I couldn’t see him. After twenty minutes I demanded to see him. A few doctors came through some double doors and asked to speak with me. We all went into a nearby room where they told me he was gone. I could not believe it. A complete shock.
From that moment forward my life was forever changed.
You never realize what it is like when someone’s spouse dies until it happens to you. My brothers wife had passed away the year before in August of 2012. He called me in December that same year and was sobbing. I said to my husband later it’s been four months and he is still crying? My husband looked me at very seriously and said “he probably misses those everyday moments. The ones that seem routine. If I lost you I would miss seeing your face as you come out of the shower each morning and I’m heading in.” I was so touched by that.
And how right he was. Our marriage was our life. It was him and me. We did everything together. Everything I did in the house brought back memories. I would work all day so anxious for five to get there. I would rush out to my car and then it would hit me. What are you in such a hurry for. There is nobody home waiting for you. I would make dinner and sit at our table alone. Sometimes I would pull into the garage and just sit in the car and cry. Crying does help. A lot.
The only thing that kept my mind off my husband was quilting. I made so many quilts. My mind would be so involved with what I was creating that my sadness was put away for a while.
I was alone for almost three years. Then a coworker insisted I meet a friend of hers for coffee. I put her off for a while until she finally yelled at me “it’s just for coffee. You don’t have to marry the guy!” So we met. And he was the nicest, sweetest man I have ever know. A southern gentleman. To this day opens my car door and calls me Miss Carol. Always wanting the best for me. We live together in a home next to my 86 year old moms home. Life is good.
Except … my daughter now doesn’t want me in her life because they don’t like him. No dinners at their home. No calls. No texts. I’m been kicked to the curb. It’s a terrible feeling to have your only child treat you like your dead. Wears at your heart. I try to put it in the back of my brain because if I dwell on it I’m not a very happy person.
Just because you start dating again after your spouse dies, it doesn’t mean you have forgotten them. They are always in your heart. But now you are not sad and lonely. My husband was my life. I had been with him since I was 15. I loved him with all my heart. We had discussed death many times. But we always thought I would go first. We always agreed that it was okay to move on. We each wanted the other one to be happy. However we never imagined that he would have died so quickly and so suddenly. They told me later he was gone after he hit the ground. An aneurism in his aorta. As he fell he said to his coworkers “looks like the big one”. I can see him saying that. I often wish I had been there by his side. And then I think no. That would have been awful. But I hate that he died without someone who loved him by his side. He always said when I die don’t let it be cancer or some other debilitating disease. I’ll take a good old heart attack anytime. Well he got what he wanted but He was taken way to soon. 60 years old. Just so sad.
Don’t know why I wrote all this and am debating on whether or not I should publish it. But if you are reading it, I guess I decided it would help me move on.
Carol Bishop December 6, 2019
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