Wednesday, August 31, 2005
This is an essay that I wrote for the Chapter Two website. I posted some of the essay on our personal family site on Sept. 16th, in honor of the passing of the date of mine and Andy's wedding anniversary. Here is the essay in its entirety.
June 26, 2004
“You dried my tears, and brought me joy that I never thought I would find again. Stephanie, I know that Andy will forever be in your heart, and I will honor that always. Today as we begin our new lives together as husband and wife, I give you the same promise that you kept with him: ‘Until death do us part.’ You are the friend of my youth, and I love you.”
“You dried my tears, and brought me joy that I never thought I would find again. Arthur, I know that Sue will forever be in your heart, and I will honor that always. Today as we begin our new lives together as husband and wife, I give you the same promise that you kept with her: ‘Until death do us part.’ You are the friend of my youth, and I love you.”
On the road to healing, I have coined my own personal phrase: "Life is linear." It only moves forward. And, at times, I am glad it is that way.
Don't get me wrong; I loved Andy with every fiber in my being. I never wanted him out of my life. I felt like I was dying myself as he slipped away. But things have changed so very much since he has been gone.
Think of this: how could I begin to go backward at this point? Arthur is now as important to the “present” of my life as Andy was to the “past.” Our relationship has it’s own life and breath… I now love Arthur with an indescribable love that feels completely different than the indescribable love I shared with Andy. I do glance in the rear view mirror at times, however, because where I have been is part of where I am today, and I need to remember that.
My current marriage has brought me so much joy. At the same time, it has absolutely nothing to do with my grief process. I still have moments when I get slammed by a huge wave from the past, and the pain will literally suck the breath out of me. Therefore, I now keep an eye on the ocean, because I have learned how hard it can strike just when I think the storm is finally over.
At times I will find myself “stuck.” When that happens, I feel like I am wearing concrete boots, and just can’t move. But, somehow when I can't seem to get going, some invisible power seems to reach out and help me get started again.
One example of a personal “moving forward” dilemma was what to do about my answering voice mail message. Andy died in early 2002, and I could not bear the thought of deleting his voice. It seemed like deleting another part of HIM!
My decision ended up simply being to make no decision. So, Andy's patient drawl continued to greet my callers through 2002, 2003...
Then I became engaged to Arthur. Still, Andy continued to take my messages.
"Yo, this is Andy. We can't come to the phone right now..."
Arthur completely understood my feelings. He told me to keep Andy's voice as long as I wanted. So came 2004... I married Arthur in June, and to everybody's surprise Andy's voice continued to answer my calls.
Enter 2005... and Andy was tirelessly still being my secretary.
But, suddenly it just didn't feel right any more. I did not feel disloyal to Arthur, but I felt like it was disrespectful to Andy in a weird way. It became time to let him rest.
The decision to change the message was made easier by the fact a competing company was offering a "bundle" plan where I could get my phone, internet and cable TV all on one bill for less money. By switching, I had to give up my voice mail and the message with it.
March 18, 2005 was the last day Andy answered my calls. I was sad, but it was time.
It is now my own voice that answers when we are unavailable.
My son Jimmy managed to save Andy's message and convert it to a computer file, so if I ever need to I can still hear it.
It is just another step into my Chapter Two.
Monday, August 1, 2005
This was taken on Mackinaw Island, which is located between the lower and upper peninsula of Michigan. It is a beautiful place where time has stood still since the early 1900's. If anybody ever saw the movie "Somewhere in Time," this is where it was filmed.
We all rode bikes around the island. There are no cars there. You either have to ride bikes, take a carriage ride, ride horses, or walk.
Shelby went horseback riding for awhile, and Arthur, John and I had "cocktails" in a restaurant in the Grand Hotel!