The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to. –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Today our family will pause to remember Crick at a Mass said for him on this eighth anniversary of his death. As I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely his, I am once again sharing this video I made seven years ago. In addition, I have included several recollections from family and friends which speak volumes about how one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.
The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!! We built it so big it lasted until almost spring! He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill. Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us. Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went. I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”. He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket. Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money. But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!! Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.”
“I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!! I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice. Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam. Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen. For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me. Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!”
“It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line. Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older. I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid. And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him. It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.”
And so it is that as another year passes, our family continues to honor Crick’s memory by drinking of the “glass half-full” and being “grateful that we are able to put two feet on the floor”.
May his soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed on this All Souls Day, rest in peace. Amen
Wanting to once again commemorate the wedding anniversary of the union of the DH (dear husband) and TGW (the good wife), I have chosen to re-post this blog from 2013, along with the accompanying video. This year (our 45th) as the anniversary date approached, I realized that I did not have the time to create a new post, nor could I find better words to express the emotion that is always, always, always front and center in my mind and in my heart. I did, however, happen upon yet another song that speaks to the comfort that my faith provides when sadness intrudes in those still unsuspecting moments and decided to upload some rare photos of just the two of us (we all know how much Crick despised having his picture taken) and have added this short video to the blog. It does seems as though I have this “need” to continue to add more material with each passing year since Crick has been gone…….if I continue this each year, I may break the Guinness World Records for lengthy anniversary blogs!!!! You will find the “editions” in the P.P.S. at the end of the post.
Memory can only tell us what we were, in the company of those we loved; it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become. Yet no person is really alone; those who live no more, echo still within our thoughts and words, and what they did has become woven into what we are. ~ Jewish prayer
This week I have been on a bit of a sentimental journey as today is the 42nd anniversary of the day when the “glass half-full” wed the “glass half-empty” and an incredible journey was begun. I have countless memories of the “good, the bad and the ugly” (which brings to mind the actor, Clint Eastwood…..which brings to mind an empty chair…which brings to mind a certain political convention……but for today, I will stay on topic, so that you may all rest easy!! LOL). The little strips of typewritten paper which I inserted above were several of thirty-eight which Crick had attached to thirty-eight roses he had placed throughout the house to be discovered by me when I had returned home work to celebrate our anniversary four years ago. Without a doubt, this was the single most romantic idea he had ever conceived!!! As you can see from the “new-found political activism” mention, the year was 2008……the year I became, not just any “nut”, but a ““right-wingnut!!! And of course, you will notice the words “stubbornness” and “ways you get mad” (I do believe, he just might have been recalling the “King’s Island Main Street incident”!!!………which, I must confess, was unfortunately not an isolated event!). I am quite sure that Peggy and Mark will take particular note of the “NOT my fishing and camping partner”, for no matter how awesome Crick tried to make the idea of camping out in a hot, stuffy tent, sleeping all too close to terra firma, among the creepy, crawling insects, the squirrels and raccoons, and those pesky, chirping birds; I have always, always, always preferred the creature comforts of home. And foremost among those thirty-eight for which Crick was expressing his gratitude, were our children and grandchildren, for whom we both always, always, always agreed were our greatest blessings.
As I was looking through some pictures, I came across the lease for our very first apartment which was on North High Street just up the road from St. Michael’s where Crick graduated from grade school. Along with the lease I also discovered that I had kept our first checkbook ledger and thought that, as one of the slips of paper above indicates, I was the family “financier”, I should share how far $400/month salary would take you back in 1970. I was struck not just by the fact that our rent was only $100/month, but that our very first check was to Columbia Gas for $2.56. Looking further down the list I took particular note that there was a check written to Ohio State University for $255.00 which was to pay for Crick’s tuition for fall quarter that year!!! Today, that amount would hardly cover the cost of one book! I also noticed that a check had been written to Agler-Davidson (a once popular sporting goods store) and now recall that the amount was to cover the cost of some football equipment as Crick and a couple of my brothers had this cockamamie idea that they would join a local semi-pro football league which was being tried out in Columbus. Crick and Johnny played for the “Blue Angels”……………what? you’ve never heard of them?????? Not surprising, the league went bust shortly thereafter, but what I do remember is that there was this little tiny bit of a………. dare I say……….. “discussion” between the newly wedded, blissful couple about the wisdom of spending money on something so unnecessary as football equipment!! So now, you all know why I became the “financier”!! LOL I just know that Crick is pacing back and forth up there in the heavens telling anyone who will listen to him that he knew this would happen one day………..that my hanging on to letters and incriminating pieces of the past would come back to haunt him. I still have in my possession, almost three years worth of letters that he wrote to me when he was in the Army……..Fort Knox, Fort Sill, Fort Carson and Korea……….yep, whenever he remembered my box of his letters, he would go on and on about how I should get rid of them because, you know, they were just dust collectors and a lot of ancient history. Welllllllllllll, I have always loved history and now one of these days I am just going to have to re-read all of those letters and really tick Crick off!!!! :)
I actually have been on a mission of sorts the past two days to put together some pictures from forty-two years ago, as my own small way of honoring this day and all of the memories attached to it. And as I was sorting through the various photos, and a few of the cards that I had kept of anniversaries past, I remembered something. One year, probably twenty years ago (gosh was 1990 that long ago???), Crick and I had surprisingly presented each other with the very same gift!! Now this is even more remarkable because we did not always exchange gifts as money was usually tight (due in part to a very stingy financier!!!). This particular year however, we shockingly presented each other with…………………a cassette (CD’s were just becoming popular, but we obviously were not on the cutting edge of new technology !!!) of a hit song by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville titled “Don’t Know Much”. It seemed to touch us both in the same way about how we each viewed our relationship………and so I listened to it again for the first time in quite a while and realized how perfectly it suited us. I decided to see if I could put the pictures and the music together and after a lot (A LOT!!) of trial and error this is how it turned out. (click the arrow on lower right hand corner of video for full screen)
P.S. Remember that last wedding picture in the video?? This was a re-enactment forty years later……………………………….you just can’t account for “maturity” LOL!!!
P.P.S. A few weeks ago, I was driving home from running an errand and I happened to be not too far from Resurrection Cemetery and so, out of the blue, I decided to redirect my homeward destination. Now, I couldn’t begin to explain the rationale for this sudden change in plans except that there was this inexplicable desire for me to do so. There is one thing about cemeteries……………..they are very quiet :)…………..and perhaps that is exactly what I unknowingly needed. Anyway, after spending some time in reflection and prayer at the grave-sites of Crick, my parents and my two brothers, I got back into my car and drove home. Several hours later, still in somewhat of a rather pensive mood, I was searching in my wallet for an appointment card when I discovered this:
Call me crazy……………..(and many do!!!!)………..but I have no recollection of ever having placed this pocket-coin in my wallet. In fact, I can’t even remember purchasing such a coin and the only explanation for me having it would be that I gave it to Crick when he went over to Kosovo with the National Guard in 2004. Over the course of our marriage, there were few situations which would have triggered the giving of such a sentimental token, except for just such a dire situation as his leaving me and the family for nine long months!!! (LOL) However this coin came into my possession remains a curious question……….and it matters not the how I came to find it, but the why. The mere fact that its appearance came on the very day that I had been in need of feeling Crick’s presence, brought me comfort, not only in that amazing moment, but the sheer memory of that moment, has continued to provide me a sense of peaceful contentment.
And so, on this 44th anniversary of the DH and TGW, I hold onto this thought of Marguerite’s from the book, “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”:
“Lost love is still love. It just takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t hold their hand, you can’t tousle their hair. But when those senses weaken, another one comes to life. Memory. Memory becomes your partner, you hold it, you dance with it. Life has to end…………love doesn’t.”