It’s been seven days and I wake up each morning and must adjust to living without you. I want to cook your morning breakfast of chicken fried steak smothered in sautéed onions and gravy with grits and buttermilk biscuits, but you aren’t here. Your morning paper is waiting on the doorsteps, and I know my life will never be the same without you. I’ve always imagined us dying simultaneously of old age. Fifty-four years of marriage to the love of my life and now I’m alone. You were more than my husband you were my friend.
I sit here heartbroken as I wait for Julia to arrive. I let her talk me into getting out of the house, and I have no idea where she’s taking me. I think I hear her pulling up in her car… you were right she needs to replace the muffler on Old Betsy.
Julia and I went shopping yesterday. Well, she shopped I just browsed the stores. I have always been one to get what I need and leave. She tried on several outfits each store and didn’t always purchase from the store. We ate dinner afterward, and I was ready to be in the comforts of my home.
It’s raining, the sun is out, and I hear birds chirping. Just like you liked it. As the days pass, I’m finding that each day is better than the last and I know you wouldn’t want me drowning in misery.
Kev called today, said he and the kids would stop by and spend time with me this weekend since I would not agree to go to Disney World with them. I look forward to seeing them. KJ and Waycross are growing so fast. Waycross took your death the hardest. He inspired me to start this journal. Said he wrote you letters and placed them in your casket after the funeral (unbeknownst to Kev or me).
I find myself staring out the window deep in thought. I’m thinking about everything yet nothing at all. My life without you is lonely.
Kev, KJ, and Waycross arrived this morning. Waycross is taller than Kev and KJ. Only fourteen years old and standing six feet tall, he’s taller than you.
I like being surrounded by my family, and I love cooking for more than one person. They enjoyed the meals, and there were no leftovers. KJ and Waycross made lava cake in the microwave for dessert. The house is full of conversations and laughter.
The smell of pancakes and bacon awakened me. Kev and the boys decided they would cater to me today. I didn’t put up a fuss; I was flattered. It reminded me of my birthdays when you served me breakfast.
I learned that KJ could cook. He cooked Sunday dinner, and it was delicious. Even you would’ve eaten it and possibly asked for a second plate. He’s a senior in high school and does not know what he wants to do with his life. He recalls you saying “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Kev’s not putting any pressure on him, says he’ll let him figure it out.
Waycross talked about you the whole weekend. He and KJ found the family photo album and sat reminiscing like long lost friends about the weekends they spent fishing with you and Kev.
Kev and his boys left before it got dark. The only thing missing from this weekend was you.
I’m thinking about joining a club or something. Julia belongs to this book club, but I may try something else. Maybe I’ll volunteer at the hospital’s nursery. You said I needed to broaden my horizons… well, I will. Right now I need to get groceries, and I don’t feel like shopping. I wrote a grocery list that consisted mostly of items you liked. Learning to live without you is hard.
Julia is stopping by today. I’m making her favorite…chicken teriyaki sushi. She is always checking in on me and wanted to take me out again, but when I offered to make sushi, she just asked me what time was a good time to come by. I know she means well, but I prefer to stay close to home. An occasional night out, once or twice a year and I’m fine. We talked about everything under the sun when she arrived, and I’m certain she expects me to go off the deep end, but I assured her that I’m okay and will not need a straight jacket.
I have no choice and must move on without you and to do so I will begin by cleaning the house. There is no right or wrong way or time to do this. I’ve set aside items (watches, cuff-links, fishing poles, etc.) for Kev and the boys, but I will be giving all your clothing and shoes to the Salvation Army. As I’m clearing the closet of your clothes, I’m seeing the man I married, just as smooth a dresser as you were a talker. I need no picture to appreciate what your memories have ingrained in my mind… all of five feet and ten inches tall with your slim build dressed in your favorite white two-piece linen pant set, white snakeskin loafers, salt and pepper hair, the smell of sandalwood with a hint of frankincense and myrrh fading in and out, looking dapper as ever and better than any GQ model I’ve ever seen.
What I loved… sorry; what I love about you remains the same after sixty years of knowing you. You were from day one of meeting you until your dying day a GOD FEARING MAN. I thank you for the good times and bad, yes the bad, because without them I would not have grown into the woman I am today. I’m becoming independent… I find myself feeling like a teenager trapped inside an older woman’s body. And the girl inside is ready to explore this world. The older woman isn’t far behind, surveying what is before her and realizing it won’t hurt to “step out on faith” as you would often say.
Memories of you fill my heart, but this house is empty without you. Your smile, laughter, and smell continue to linger. As time passes, I think I’ll come out of retirement to teach again. If I’m going to go back to work, I want to do what I love. And I truly enjoyed teaching at Reidsville Head Start. Helping the little ones learn, seeing them blossom and feed their thirst for knowledge is what I need to move on and continue living.
Kev and the boys came by today, and they were thrilled to receive your keepsakes, especially the fishing poles. Waycross and KJ are planning a weekend of fishing in your honor. Kev suggested your favorite spot, Indian River Lagoon.
Mary, My Mother, Queen of Peace, all Angels and Saints, please help me move on. I am having dreams I can’t remember when I awake. But last night I swear when I woke I heard you call my name. I was not scared just concerned for you. Your untimely death came as a surprise to us all. I expected we would die of old age, but someone’s foolishness took you. I have forgiven the young lady who was texting while driving, but I’ll never forget what or who she took from me. She has robbed me of our dinners, your hugs, your kisses, our walks in the park, our conversations, your laughter that filled the room, and my confidant.
I, Lily Elise Goldstein, woke this morning with a smile on my face and singing your name, Gordon Eli Goldstein. Last night was wonderful. I enjoyed your company and conversation. I was glad to have the last date night with you, even if it was just a dream. As usual, you came when I needed you. It’s going to take a while to get used to this house and life without you. Pieces of you are forever embedded in my mind: your brown eyes, your smile, the curl pattern of your hair, the smell of sandalwood on your skin, your laughter, your kiss, even your touch. I MISS YOU.