A Letter to Bob.
As I sit here feeling all the pain you left behind, feeling that you left me way too soon, I also remember the wonderful things you brought into my life. I remember the first time I met you, and trust me it certainly was not love at first sight! In fact, I didn’t even like you after our second date! Remember when I told you that I didn’t want to see you again; you just were not my type? But being the persistent type of guy you were, you just kept pestering me to go out with you again. I kept saying no, I really did not want to get involved, but did you give up on that, no!! You refused to leave it or me alone, with that cocky smile you always had, and one weekend we had been talking on the phone and I told you I really didn’t feel well and did not want any company. But you came anyway, bringing me chicken noodle soup and candles. Telling me that I needed a little “love” and soothing comfort. I relented and told you that I would go out with you, how could I resist in my weakened state! And as the weeks went by I fell in love with you in an instant. One night sitting there looking into your eyes, I knew that you were the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Not like you would have taken no for an answer! You never did! I remember when I took you to my favorite woods, and we sat there in your car as the rain poured down, talking about futures and pasts and everything in between. You handed me this little jeweler’s box, and I was terrified it might have been a ring. And then it was! With a shocked expression I opened that box and found a sterling silver wedding band. And I looked at you in this awe of wide eyes and waiting for you to ask to marry me. Which of course you didn’t. You simply stated to read the inscription inside, and inside that band of silver, “Here I stand.” I looked at you with curiosity and wondered what that meant, so with a bold question asked and you laughed! You told me no matter what life brings, no matter how far apart we were, that you would always stand over me with your love. That you would stand beside me and hold my hand when I was afraid, that your love would be like a blanket to keep me warm in the darkness and now I have to wonder if that still rings true. You left me and I am sad, angry at you for at times I feel like you did not keep that promise, but then I remember you standing there, and I know that you will always be there Darling and your ring I still wear.
Remember when you told me in that shy way you had that you had never danced with a girl in public, not in the fast rock-and-roll way? And I laughed that night at your apartment, and put on some music with a heavy beat, grasping your hand and telling you to dance with me! And dance we did, in our pajamas, laughter spilling from our mouths. And that first Valentine present you gave me, a horror movie and chocolates, and we laughed at how romantic that was! And how I told you that I hated roses, and please to never buy them for me, and then you brought me a bunch of hand picked dandelions and asked me if these would do! And that night you came to pick me up on a date in your black cape, and you told me that you would always be my super-hero! My kids thought I had lost my mind going out with that crazy man! The things we do in our middle age, acting like children wild in the night!
And the way you would always say, “I love you to the moon and back my girl!” And my simple reply, “I love you back.” How about that fight we had and I thought I would fix you, and I slept on the couch that night, with the only blanket that leather one you had, and it was too short to reach my long legs. But I wasn’t going to ask you for one, so I lay there and froze all night until I finally fell asleep and you snuck out and put a heavier one on me. Waking up realizing that your words of wisdom held true, “Never go to bed angry, and things will settle themselves.” We shared so many whispered secrets in the night, often laying talking through the twilight hours until the sun broke over the rise. Sometimes laying in our bed and just holding hands, squeezing a little too tight, knowing that whatever came our way we would get there together.
And then you left me, I know you did not have a choice, but I just can’t get used to this and I am still angry. But you are lucky; your pictures have made their way back upright, so I know I am healing. When you first left me, I was so angry, I couldn’t stand your smile looking at me, and I would put all your pictures face down! And I still spray your cologne on your pillows, to smell you in the night. Remember when we moved into that big old house, with the cold hardwood floors, and I tried to talk you into a pair of slippers and some nice warm pajamas, and you fought me tooth and nail? Remember that Angie concurred with me, and then I bought you some, and I don’t think you took those slippers off at all last winter, unless you had to go outside. Stubborn man! They are inside my closet now, tucked away with their worn soles. We all know you preferred your silk pajamas and your leather pants and those I kept as well. I will never forget you standing there in the doorway, in those leather pants.
That first night you met Mom, Ang and John, and we went over to their house for a night of movies and talk. And you were so nervous that you sat there with me on the couch, swooshing my leg up and down in that insistent way you had when you were nervous. They had to keep turning up the movie, and we were smiling behind your back, trying to hear the words, but not much could be heard as your hand rushed up and down my leg in a maddening state! And then months later we all had a great wonderful laugh over that! And I have a bone to pick with you Bob! After you left and I had to move from the big house back into mine, I cannot tell you how many things that you “tried” to fix with duct tape and parts of Diet Coke cans! I should write a book in your honor about 101 ways NOT to fix things according to BOB!
Laughter you gave me, yes you did Bob and such sweet memories. I guess that means that a process is happening of one that I was not aware, healing. Before I could not even think of you without tears coming to my eyes. And now at least through some of the tears a smile appears. That day we were married, going to the courthouse, and you looked at me and asked in a sheepish voice if you could just once buy me a dozen roses, for every girl needs roses on her wedding day. I still have one of those roses Darling. And your love of sweets! That says a lot just by itself! I had to hide candy if I wanted some, because you would eat it all up! That time mom brought over the great big slice of cake for us to share, and I asked you if you would mind cutting me some, and you cut me this tiny sliver and I could not believe that was all I could have, and we broke out into laughter, because you wanted it all for yourself! Not that you were ever selfish, unless it came to sweets! And guess what, mom has an entire houseful of goodies this year! And we are all thinking of you, thinking back to last year when you kept sneaking over there to do errands, chores, or anything to get you close to mom’s treats! And if no one could find you, you would be out in their breakfast nook, shoving goodies into your mouth as fast as you could!
And that time that me, you, John, Ang, Paula and Kirk went camping in the winter, in those adorable little cabins, and you were afraid you would be too cold, so you took your diving suit to wear under your pants, and swore me not to tell any of them? We went back to our cabin that night and there you were after taking off your jeans, standing there looking goofy in your dive suit in the middle of Illinois’s winter! And we laughed so hard that tears came to our eyes! The fun we had that weekend, sharing it with family.
I miss you. I am trying to hold onto the good memories, but there will always be some bad ones to go along with them. No matter how hard I try not to, they creep into my head when the darkness descends. I remember when Ang, Derek and I were driving to the hospital after you collapsed in the yard, holding shaking hands and praying that everything would be all right. And then the doctor came and told me how sorry he was that you did not make it. And the engulfing sadness that filled my heart that day. And dragging myself through the haunting moments of those next few weeks, wondering however would I cope, however would I go on without you. You would have been so proud of “Brat” as you lovingly called her; my sister was there through it all, taking care of arrangements and handling family and friends. A true Godsend she was, and she even slept on your side of the bed! We would laugh at that amidst our tears, seeing the tin of cookies on your nightstand, the scattering of crumbs left on the sheets.
We all miss you. Derek looked at me and said in his quivering voice, “Who will play catch with me now that my Uncle is gone?” And “Daughter” made me eat chips and dip in those cute little dishes she bought for you, as we cried in my bed one night, her stating, “He used to always hog the chips and dip mom, so now we can eat it all.” But knowing she wished with her heart it were you down here sharing that ritual of the one you two shared. And “Slick” asked me who would help him finish fixing his car now that you were gone, one of those rare moments where I have seen him cry with emotions painted upon his young face. And the other day when Ang and I went shopping and Mom had to supply our quarters! That was your job!
You impacted our lives and made them richer and I miss you Darling. I miss your silly jokes, and the way you would laugh at them yourself, even if no one else would! I miss the way you loved me in your unconditional way. You loved me for all my faults, and all my shortcomings. We sure didn’t share some great epic romance, but we had our “life”. You came to find me in our middle age, and we did not share those great romantic moments of youth, but we had our own, yes that we did. And in that you gave me yourself and all the wonderful things you brought with your laughter, your tears, your silliness, your love, your memories. Thank you for sharing them with my family and me.
I will always love you Bob, but for now it is time to close. I have so many more things to remember, and so much more to say, and perhaps one day I can send another letter your way. I am not as angry as I was, for that is too heavy a burden to carry. I want to always remember the things of our life together, and for the way you will forever be imprinted into my memory.