YES MEN DO CRY
great time, and we spent the night in a suite—and yes, I was rewarded, or did I reward you? Whatever! I loved to make you feel good. You were “one hell of a lady.”
The next big thing that happened was when I built the apartment. Yes, it was a beautiful building, but what a disaster. At least we got to live on the waterfront for four great years. I thought we had money, and so did you. But I lied to you for too long because I thought I could get us out of the hole, and we did have a nice line of credit. It is terrible what the male ego can do. You were so wonderful through all of this. After taking your real estate course, your other amazing abilities surfaced. The first was being an incredible mother. You could have been successful at anything you chose in life. Doing real estate proved this. In such a short time, you excelled, only to have your life taken away too soon.
The last special trip you took was to New York. Oh, how glad I am that we did this! It was something you had always wanted to do, and we did it. Ten days of now the best holiday we ever had as it was the last. Just thinking of it makes me smile. You loved every minute of it. Seeing you so happy will always be with me. We walked and walked, at least six to seven hours a day, and you were never the athletic type (except in bed—in my memories). We went to most places you had dreamed of and ate in the top restaurants, saw two shows, and stayed in the cute, warm Hotel Lucerne. You also got to see a Yankees game.
You looked a picture of health. It was our twenty-fifth anniversary, and our life was getting back on track financially. The card you gave me for our anniversary was beautiful and something I will treasure. “To old memories and ones we’ve yet to make. Happy Anniversary. Thanks for making this dream come true. Love Me (Lois) xoxo”
That was May 23. Who would have known that two months later on July 27, our lives would be altered forever? It was the beginning of the end, but also the beginning of the most incredible experience I have ever had. This experience was given to me by the most amazing person I have ever known. You sure did take us on a great Disneyland ride. We did enjoy it the best we could, and no one got off. The strength and courage you showed—only you know its source; it will always be your secret. If only I can be as half as brave as you in the same circumstances.
I was so lucky to have Cheryl (palliative nurse who was convalescing after hip surgery). This was a friend of a friend who had twenty years of palliative nursing experience. I called her, and she said she had a book that might help me, the caregiver, understand what was happening and what was going to happen. I said thanks, if I could get to her place, I would pick it up. I picked up the book called Final Gifts (by Maggie Callanan and Patrica Kelley). Without this book, I and friends would have missed so much. (Cheryl, I will never be able to thank you enough. Without you, I would have experienced a system death, and I would have been none the wiser. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.) Booby, you were my everything. I don’t know how I will get by without you, but I know I will as you wouldn’t expect anything else. You made me who I am; you instilled confidence in me. Nothing but the best would do, and there was no room for excuses. We are responsible for our own destiny and you sure lead life to the fullest and with positivity (ask Rand).
I might be shallow, but the best thing I liked doing was making love to you. As I’ve already said, you were “one hell of a lady.” And as you said, “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Nothing could make what we had better. Booby, I loved you so much. I know you knew, and I will never love anyone like I loved you. Remember all those notes I would write you? Well, I found a lot of them the other day. You had kept them. Even though they may seem X-rated to some people (tough), it showed how much I loved you. It was something you and I had; it was between us. Booby, wherever you are, I know I will see you again. I just hope I make you proud when you look down from afar and approve of how I handle this shitty deck of cards.
I’m just looking out the window of the plane, and I see a star. Maybe it’s you. I don’t know why, but it sure makes me teary eyed and also makes me feel good. Even if I could see you one more time, I would just want to hold you and make love to you and for it to never end. But that can never happen again on earth. So till later, I have the memories.
July 27, 2000, was D-day—the beginning of the journey. At the time, Lois was told she had a terminal illness, we were both in shock. Looks like more me than her. I’m the one who broke down. We held each other, and then she said, “Let’s pretend we’re on a Disneyland ride. We’re going to enjoy it as much as we can! Those who want to get off can; we just don’t know when it’s going to end.”
Those words showed what an incredible person you were. Here was someone who had just been told she has terminal cancer, and you were thinking of how this last inning would be played out. One thing for sure, you were going to be in control, and you would do it your way.
August 4, we went to the Sylvia Hotel for our ten-day holiday. This had been planned for a year, and you said no way was she going to give that up. She loved English Bay.
What a ten days! If you could call it a holiday, it was, but under the circumstances, it was an experience as was all of August. You kept getting bad news after bad news, but with each, you seemed to grow stronger. First, you always made sure all your friends were okay and that the kids and I would get through this. Again, you kept hiding your pain from everyone except me, and you fooled them for a long time, especially Fran, who had a hard time accepting this. She just wanted to believe it was a dream as we all did. But I felt we only had a little time left together. Those days that we went to the beach were so special. You not knowing which one would be your last. You loved it so much, but I could see the pain in your eyes. I just hoped the sun would shine forever so those visits would never end. Finally, the weather changed, and your body weakened. But we had the last laugh. You will be at English Bay forever. Booby, we spread your ashes at the beach, and I have bought a bench for you. I have been down with you just about every day. It is just like a security blanket. Remember Girly’s blanket and Nathan’s bottle? The only difference is nobody can take English Bay away from me, and when we have the bench, I will sit and just go over memories. Then one day, I will join you on the bench.
Booby, I’m now at thirty-seven thousand feet, between Hawaii and Brisbane, and it is 3:00 a.m. Just looking out the window, the sky is covered by a million stars. It is so black, but there is a mystique of wonder. Now I don’t just look up at the stars and think of nothing in particular, other than wondering. I now have the sense that maybe that big house you dreamed about all the time is out there somewhere and that you are safe. I know you are strong, but we were a team, and the big dark universe littered with stars makes me worry about you. Please be careful and safe as you will be on your own for a while yet, even though you weren’t afraid to go. You told me it was going to be all right after you saw the lady who was there to help you in transition, and you saw your mum, dad, Pappy, and Eddie. Although you are with loved ones somewhere, I think that I’m the only one who can take care of you and love you in the way you really like to be loved. It’s amazing! I look out the window now and again see that single star. Okay, it’s because of how I’m sitting. I think not. It’s you, Booby. The night we spread your ashes at English Bay, there was one star. Earlier tonight, there was one, and now it is there again. Does it mean something? I don’t know, but it sure comforts me. You told me that you felt everything draining from your body on the Sunday before you died, and you were okay with it. No fear, no anger. You just seemed to be at peace. I knew you were going because you told me. I was the one who was scared because I didn’t know how I was going to survive without you. Selfish on my part. I still don’t, but having that feeling that you are okay helps, and looking out this window does make me think that there is something else after. Mainly because you were too good of a mother, wife, friend, and person to not have things more important to do somewhere else as you did a fantastic job with us. Even if this is true, it still stinks, but hopefully, we will be able to get the answer later. Your courage, strength, and just being you have been instilled into me, the kids, and also the close group of friends you let into the experience and ride you were on those last ten weeks.
I’m worried about Fran. Maybe she needs to talk to a counselor. Hell, I don’t even know what I need. This is something she cannot do alone as she has no control or experience of losing her best girlfriend. You were so much more than that to her, something that even I truly don’t understand. But that makes it even more important is that she gets help. If she will just talk to someone. It is not a sign that anything is wrong, and no one will judge her differently. It will just mean that we understand that she is hurting and that she can’t do it alone. Fran, I care about you. Lois wouldn’t want you to suffer in silence.
Bob and Marilyn are fantastic. Maybe because what they saw in the last two days showed them what love and companionship is all about. It’s about two people having unconditional love, warts, and all. I’m sure they are closer now than they have ever been since you have gone, realizing that nothing is forever and the ultimate showing of love is to be able to hold each other and cuddle and finally be there for the other when they are dying.
Just cuddling you is what I miss most at present. To be able to come home and hold you was very important. It’s a shame that you dying make this so true. I hope that Bob and Marilyn continue to do this till the very end. As when it’s over, one of them will be so lonely, and yet they will have all these good feelings, and this will be directly as a result of what I went through. I’m so lucky that I cuddled and kissed you just about every day of our life. Words cannot explain to anyone how empty I feel not being able to do this with you anymore. I just hope the people you touched during your ride learned something from this. But honestly, I think they slip back into their old and boring ways unintentionally as this is life, and life goes on. I feel Bob and Marilyn are the only ones who are truly getting the picture. When was the last time you heard of two old farts having a nooner? I hope this continues till they can’t do it anymore, and then they can 3