I'm proud. I'm surprised--shocked really. There were times I didn't think I'd make it this long. Truthfully, there were times I didn't want to make it this long. But I promised her. I said I'd live and love for the both of us.
And I have.
My year of firsts has come to an end and I'm still here. I'm still living. I'm still loving our children and grandchildren for us both. I've survived the birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries. I've faced the quiet house, the empty bed, the missing lunchtime phone calls and the absence of her I Love My Husband messages on my Facebook wall. From the "see me off to work" kiss to the night's last embrace, I've persevered without it all.
I'm doing my best to do my best, if you follow my logic. That includes my writing. I've had two short stories published since Myra died. The Orchid, the first one I wrote after July 17, 2013, was by far the most difficult story I've ever written. Every single sentence came about as easily as a wisdom tooth yanked out of my jaw. But I kept my word.
I wonder sometimes if I'd have been able to keep that promise were it not for family and friends. Your prayers, your words of encouragement, your patience and understanding, they made the difference--literally--between life and death. I am forever in your debt.
In the eyes of society, the state and God, I'm a widower. In my heart, I'm a husband and will remain so until death reunites us. The poem below, I wrote for my wife.
Ten Thousand Times.
10,000 times I've kissed your rings
10,000 times I've whispered your name
Knowing not what tomorrow brings
Wondering why that woeful day came
10,000 times I've shed a tear
10,000 times I've asked God why
All those times in just one year
Seldom a day do my eyes stay dry
10,000 times I've pictured your face
10,000 times I've struggled to smile
Knowing that you're in a better place
And I'll join you there after my last mile
10,000 words I've penned in letters
10,000 times I've prayed for grace
To endure this grief that fetters
And find true peace as I run this race
10,000 days were we on Earth wed
10,000 times has my shattered heart beat
10,000 ways will my soul have bled
When comes that day it's again complete
The first of 10,571 days "on Earth wed"