Monday, July 13, 2015


As I took my evening walk last night, the sun, tucking behind some clouds as it dropped into a crotch in the mountain range, shot out the sort of rays I've long associated with my late husband giving me a thumbs up or bit of needed encouragement. I know - it's just a common natural phenomenon, but I didn't remember seeing it much until after he died, and the first one came timed in a way I could only take as a sign that he was reaching out to me. But it really doesn't matter whether it is truly a communication from his spirit it or not. It is enough that it makes a connection that is helpful to me, and these many years later often makes me stop for a moment and think, just what did I do today that would have made him proud enough to want to give me that thumbs up?

Last night it got me thinking on other things, though. Had he survived the accident that took him, and any of the many other things that life might have thrown at him along the way, we'd be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary today. I wondered, where would we be and what would we be doing? We had never intended to stay in Wisconsin, where a job opportunity had taken us. We talked a lot about getting back to the Pacific Northwest or at least someplace mountainous, and he was always looking for something he could do at home, a small business venture, so he could retire early and we could move where we pleased. Would we have found the magic formula by now or still be in the upper Midwest?  Would we have ended up in Colorado as we sometimes talked about, or back in Spokane where we went to college and enjoyed living once upon a time? I suppose we could have ended up right here where I am now, although it was never on our radar. I know I have thought so many times how much he would like it here for even more reasons than I do.

I also wondered if my creative path would have gone the same direction - not sure that it would have for a lot of reasons. But in the end, I know these sorts of what if speculations are fairly pointless. I know that getting where I am today is very much because of him, his confidence in me and his lingering influence. I know he would have preferred to still be along for the ride - I'd prefer that too. But since he's not, I do the best I can, keep him in my thoughts and am thankful for the time I had with him. And most of all, remember him especially on anniversaries like today. We had a good life together, and I'm still benefiting from it.


Susan Sawatzky said...

It's interesting to me that we both lost our husbands, whom we both dearly loved, around the time of wedding anniversaries. I haven't been able to figure out if that makes it harder or easier. One month a year to mourn all out or if it were spaced further apart would I not notice it so much?

I was walking out at N. Beach a couple of nights ago and my across the street neighbors were also out there. I had earphones in and was listening to J. Mathis sing 99 Miles from LA, a song that always reminds me of Don and our courting days. The husband asked me what I listening to and when I told him sort of stared at me so I told them my story behind that particular song....teary moments later from all of us, I walked on and they were holding hands. Perhaps it was a useful nudge for them.


Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila, thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.
For me it is very poignant because I never lost my parents or siblings and i never got married.
But i know that your art must keep you very active and alive (i felt this since your posts about Judy).
But i imagine that yes, the time you had with Allen was very precious and worth.
Thanks again!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, Susan, for sharing that story. For years I blocked out that week between his death and the anniversary to cut myself off from the world and focus on the things that were important to us, little things we shared - like favorite movies, songs - and to focus on a project in the studio that I felt had some connection to him. I just needed that kind of seclusion and privacy (phones off and no outside commitments) to mourn. Some years I only managed to depress myself, other years it was very cathartic, still others were actually fun. The spacing of the two events was just right for me. (I have another opportunity to when his birthday roles around in November, so the emotions get roiled up again.) But I haven't felt that need for the seclusion part for several years - not sure if that's good or bad! I suppose anytime you don't shut the living out of your life totally is ok.

I think I would have felt worse about his death coming so near our anniversary had we not already had an early celebration - a wonderful weekend where we motorcycled to our favorite racetrack and camped on-site for a round of motorcycle racing in celebration of the upcoming 25th. If he had died before we made that trip, it would have been a lot worse. As it was, we had some unusual days of closeness leading up to the accident. I realized I had few thoughts of what we didn't get to do or say to each other and felt blessed.

Yes, I bet you did give that couple on the beach a nudge. I think you would feel it as much whether close or spaced out. Hugs to you.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Lucia, right after my husband died I went through a period where the quilting, which I fully expected to fill the void, was lacking without him. I couldn't even work in my studio for weeks. But eventually I did find my way back and it does fill my time and keep me going. Not only that, he was always so proud of my quilting accomplishments and pushed me along. Of course, I would keep at it! And it has allowed me to make connections with so many supportive people like you. Thanks for your kind words.

Michele Matucheski said...

It's amazing to me that our loved ones can speak to us this way -- if we just open our eyes to listen. It doesn't happen everyday, which is why it's so special when it does happen. When I see a dragonfly, I know my old friend Sandy is near. I got goose-bumps reading this post. Hugs to you (again).

Connie Rose said...

You've definitely been blessed, in so many ways. Hugs.