Most of the time, somewhere in my writing, you will hear about my deceased husband, Mike. We were blessed in spending the rest of his days together. I was left behind to continue living. There are days where this feels like an impossible task. As I was washing my dishes today I was told that it is time to let it all go. One way to do that is to honor the man I knew. So this blog post is all about Mike, our life together and his death. This is my way of letting him go. He keeps sending messages through others that I need to quit the crying and move on. Believe me I am trying. Some days are easier than others. I am sure he will show up in my writing, there is no way that he couldn’t, but it won’t be more than a way to explain an example. Our time has ended and now life moves on. This is our story as I lived it and his love will live on through those that knew and loved him. I am letting go so I can love again, live again and once again start over.
This video is the video I made for Mike when he died. This shows you who the man was and how he loved life.
Mike was a man of great insight. He just had this ability to see people for who and what they were. He loved them regardless but he never went into anything without that full “knowing.” He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He knew how to put a smile on just about everyone’s face. He wasn’t an angry person. In all the years I knew him I only saw him angry one time. I mean really, really angry. The type of angry that made him raise his voice, angry. He just didn’t do that, ever.
I met Mike in 1991. We were married that year. We were expecting our first child. Elizabeth Cassandra was born March 7, 1992. She was a full term stillborn. Her death affected both of us deeply. We eventually got to the point where we quit talking to each other and quit turning to each other. In February of 1993 we had our son Jeremy. He has truly been a gift that both of us have adored. Because we quit talking and leaning on each other we ended up divorced. We were divorced for 11 years. In 2006, we were remarried and the last 9 years were the best either of us had ever had. The key to all of this is after our divorce we stayed friends. I knew that no matter what time, night or day, if I needed him he would come running. It made no difference who was in our lives we were just there and we just cared. I didn’t always like him but I always loved him.
The foundation for our marriage the second time around was a deep, abiding friendship. I preach this to my kids all the time. Be friends first. When life gets rough and the world is falling apart at your feet that friendship will get you through it all. I believe that wholly and completely. Mike was my best friend. He knew all of my secrets. He knew my heart. He knew me. I knew his secrets. I knew his heart and I knew him. Most often a word did not even need to be spoken and the other would just do what was necessary.
He liked his beer, wine and Bombay gin with tonic. He loved a good cigar. He loved to have a good time. He loved to play pool. He didn’t make close and endearing friendships easily but once you were his friend he was always there and always willing to do whatever you needed.
Jeremy and I were his number one priority, nothing came before the two of us, ever. He loved my brother, sister, sister in laws and brother in law as though they were his own. He adored my parents and would have given his life for any of us. I would be remiss in not mentioning my nieces, nephews and granddaughters. He absolutely, positively adored each and every one of them. They could do no wrong in his eyes. We spent many hours watching baseball, softball, and football games just so we could see them and spend time with them. Some of his favorite moments were spent with my (our) granddaughters. He loved every second of every moment that he spent with them. He referred to them and their mom as “his girls.”
There was absolutely nothing in this world that he would not have given me if I wanted it and he could. Most importantly though he gave us his time and his love. He was never to busy to sit and listen. He always gave great advice. He was never to busy to offer a hug or just hold you when you felt your world falling apart.
Some of my fondest memories are with him cooking on his bar-b-q. I don’t think there is anything he loved more than to bar-b-q a good rib-eye. He loved to fish and it didn’t matter what kind of fishing it was. He was ready to go whenever or wherever as long as he could take his rod and reel and a cooler full of cold beer. The last few years of his life he didn’t do much fishing but he talked about it all the time. In fact a week or so before he died he insisted we go buy supplies so he could adjust his wheel chair to hold his pole and he could go fishing.
Another of his passions was music. He loved music. He loved to listen to it, sing it and dance to it. He loved his music. He had his favorite songs and he would play them on his phone all the time. He use to run the karaoke at the Yucaipa Eagles and I bet you could ask anyone who joined in on a Friday night what the funniest thing he ever did was and you would get a resounding answer of when he sang “My guy!” I am telling you he would get up there and put on a show. The crowd would go wild and we would all be laughing so hard that it hurt.
He would sing with one of his best friends, Kevin and their mutual friend Reggie. It was always a Pink Floyd song and it was always long. He always sang his Pirate looking at 40 and a few others. He would sing with anyone that wanted to sing and didn’t want to do it alone. Him and Jackie always did Sonny and Cher’s “I got you babe.” They were good times and there are memories there that will never die. He left so much love with so many people.
Mike would do ANYTHING to raise money for charity. If you watched the video you saw him with a wig, make up and a hula outfit on. That was to raise money for one of his all time favorite charities “Garden of Angels.” If it was about helping someone, anyone, in any way, he was ready to do whatever it took. You saw the pictures of him as Santa? That was a yearly thing. He would do it for friends and he would do it for under- privileged children. He would dress up and deliver gifts to their homes. I remember one year one little boy was so excited that he asked Santa if he could go home with him to the North Pole.
He drove me absolutely crazy because he always had to look meticulously good. His clothes had to be just right. His hair had to be just right. He didn’t just throw on a shirt and pants and walk out the door. Everything had to be “just right.” He even ironed! I teased him unmercifully that he was worse than any woman I had ever met. It was oh so true. He would just laugh at me and say he couldn’t help it, it was just who he was.
He worked at Kaiser Steel for 20 years and then went to work for S.B. County. Over time he worked himself up to a Supervisory position. This is where he stayed until he retired. He retired early because so many of the guys he worked with were dying and he said he wasn’t going to work until he died. He wanted to enjoy life. While he was working though he did everything he could to treat the people who worked with him with dignity. He tried to teach them and he would come home and talk about the things going on. He would always tell me what a great bunch of guys he had and how blessed he was. I have heard from a couple of the guys that worked for Mike and it seems to me that it was a mutual admiration society. I have yet to have one say a bad word about him as a boss. I think that in and of itself speaks of his character as a man.
Seriously, I could sit here for days and share my memories. I could sit and just write about him non-stop. He gave so much to so many throughout his life and that includes me. At this point though I think it is time to find an ending. So in closing I will finish with saying I was loved, truly loved in ways that many yearn for all of their lives. I had the best of best friends as did our son. He was unique and one of a kind and my life was blessed because I had the joy of sharing my life with him for a short time. With that said I know that I will have this love again. I know that I will have another best friend somewhere along the way and when I do I will cherish every single moment because I know how beautifully special that gift is.
Sometimes losing the love and beauty in your life makes you appreciate it all the more when it comes around again. I am assured it will come again. I am open and I am moving forward and know that someday, somewhere it will show up again. It will be different and it will be beautiful and that is a good thing. I promised Mike I would love again. I promised him I would keep living. I promised him I would move on. I am keeping my promises. New memories are on the horizon. Old memories will abide within my heart and spirit until I take my last breath. No comparison’s needed just loving acceptance that this is life and in life we face death and in death we find new beginnings. That is how we live and that is how we love. No endings just new beginnings. Life is a sweet, precious gift and it is time to live it to it’s fullest. Letting the past go and turning all that love to myself and out into the world. What more could a woman ask for? It’s all about the love. It lives on no matter how it shows up.