You died on a Monday. I saw you that morning struggling to breath. I’m so thankful to have given you a kiss as you slept. The last kiss I would ever give you. Oh, how many times had we kissed and embraced? You were so tired and working so hard to breath like your body couldn’t do it any longer. I hugged your wife not only because I care about her, but because I couldn’t hold you. She understood as I whispered “I love you” to her. She always showed strength and grace through your illness personifying love and hope. Her pain will never go away. But your pain is gone now and for that I am relieved. I had hoped you would quietly slip away, and you did. God Damn it! I wanted you to stay forever.
The last visit before you left, I asked you if you remembered the time I was walking the dog, and you came out and offered me wine. Of course, I said yes, so you grabbed a couple of glasses of red wine and we sat on the front stone wall and sipped and talked on a glorious sunny Spring day. People slowed down to watch us “day drinkers” having a ball laughing and talking. Pretty soon other neighbors came over and we all chatted. I liked how you quietly laughed when you said you remembered. It filled my heart. It was our moment in the sun.
One day, you called me when I was sitting on the beach and thanked me for what I wrote about you on my blog. There were a few people on the beach, as it was early, and they just watched me sob into my cell phone. We were both crying. All of your time was borrowed, and we knew it. You were so strong and positive while you took your time saying goodbye. I would have been a mess. But, not you! As I hung up, I looked at the horizon meeting the ocean, and drank in the soothing woosh of the waves as they hit shore. I wiped away the last of my tears and realized that you were one of a few people in the world who know me, who really know me and for that I am grateful and comforted.
Everyone will miss you, especially me. We stole looks and gestures when we were in each other’s company. Always connected in some small way. I know you will continue to be there when I’m looking for you. In a corner sipping some fancy Italian drink or standing next to your wife always to support her. We will always watch over your wife. I promise. Your spirit will never leave our little community, our little lives that we are forced to carry on without your grace. I toast to your generosity, love and joy that you gifted so many. Cheers.
You are a once in a lifetime friend. True friends that I can only count on one hand. You were not just a friend though, you were a mother, a wife, a neighbor, a confidant and a caregiver. My heart breaks with you gone now. Please carry me with you wherever you are. Let the others who have passed know that I think of them often too. I can only hope to laugh at our memories some day when the thought of you will bring a smile, not a tear. You will live on in my heart until I take my last breath, and we once again sip red wine in the sunshine.