For the past two weeks, I’ve been slowly going through Tim’s desk and dresser drawers and his two vehicles. It’s been an incredible and overwhelming process, but in a very positive way! Kim and I were very sad when we discovered that Tim wasn’t wearing his wedding band when we went to the funeral home for the family viewing. No one could locate the ring, not at the funeral home, nor at the hospital in NY where he died. I tried not to dwell on it because it wasn’t Tim’s original ring. It was the ring he began wearing at our 25th anniversary vow renewal almost six years ago.
I decided that this would all be ok if I could find Tim’s original wedding band, which was a really cool nugget ring. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find it. I was getting desperate, because though I know that Tim loved me, I wanted that ring as a symbol of our love. Then on Thursday, I was looking for a paper clip in Tim’s desk drawer, when I noticed a ring box. Could it be??? My heart started beating faster. I opened the box, and there it was, that beautiful nugget ring that I wanted to find so badly! I clutched it in my fist, and burst into tears!! I immediately placed it in Tim’s memory trinket box that a dear friend gave me on Wednesday and I felt like I had gotten a small piece of Tim back.
Yesterday I cleaned out Tim’s Cadillac sedan and the Ford Expedition that we used to tow Memory Maker. There were the usual things in both vehicles, umbrellas, sunglasses, packs of Kleenex, recylced bags for grocery shopping and receipts for gas and car washes. But I also found something I’d never expected. I had been told by almost all of Tim’s clients that “all he did was talk about you, so we feel like we know you!”. While I did believe that Tim talked about me quite a bit, I clearly didn’t get how much until I found his work portfolio, a zippered case that I thought he used to keep his daily schedules and other important company papers for Bear Sedan. When I opened it, there were three pages of his schedule for the last few days of June right before we headed to NY, which included locations to pick up and drop off clients. But everything else in the portfolio had everything to do with ME, and nothing to do with Tim or Bear Sedan!! There were my business cards (but none of his), three signed copies of my book, printed articles about my security career and my terms on the ASIS Board of Directors, and several newsletter and newspaper articles on my speeches and tour for my book. There were also printed photos of many of my LEGO classes that I wrote and taught. I looked at all the stuff over and over. It was like a museum of Loretta’s life and career. Why would he have so much info about me and my work, and nothing to promote himself or his own business?? Who does that???? I strongly believe it demonstrates the enormous love and pride Tim had in and for me, in my work, and all of the things I was passionate about. I guess his clients hadn’t exxagerated after all! I will always treasure that amazing find I’d never seen before!!
Yesterday was the day that after one month and two days of waiting, I finally received Tim’s death certificate, and saw his much discussed and debated causes of death. There were three listed – 1) multiple embolic strokes 2) hypercoaguable state (blood clots) and 3) Metastic pancreatic ductal adevocarcuoma (the most lethal form of pancreatic cancer). I stared at the causes, and I felt numb. The death certificate makes it real and so FINAL for me. It is printed in black and white and is the document you need to move forward with processing a loved one’s debts and assets. For all intents and purposes, it’s the official document that officially ENDS Tim’s life. I had wanted it so badly over the last two weeks, but once I had it in my hands I wanted to give it back!! But at least now we know!
The final thing I “found” this week was confirmation that I CAN be happy and have FUN though I’m no longer part of a “couple”! Four times this week I had dinner with family and very close friends. For one of those dinners, a birthday celebration, I was with three couples, yet I didn’t once feel like I no longer belonged in the group because I’m now a widow. I shared many stories about Tim and we laughed a lot, but I also shared some of my goals for moving forward with my “new” life. I think I already knew that the people who loved me and Tim as a couple, also deeply love me just as Loretta…But it felt extraordinary to actually get that confirmed. I’m so glad I accepted all of those invitations to dinner, because it showed me that my new life is just beginning. If we just open ourselves up, you never know what you may find. Thanks Tim for taking care of me, and nudging me to say YES to going out and making new memories! Love you always!
I am VERKLEMPT that you found the original ring!!!!!!!! That makes me feel awesome! That for me too was more important than the second ring. I have always loved it and it symbolizes the fact that he’s always been and will be you’re ‘Rock’!
Can’t wait to see what see what else you find!
AMEN to that Kim!!!!!! I’m soooo thrilled that I found it!! Great analogy!! He’ll Always be my ROCK!!!
Yes, Loretta, Tim was proud of you, verily, prouder than proud. Never once did I sense in his acclamations and approbations regarding your accomplishments a whiff or scintilla of jealousy (funny, not humorous, but ironic how often between couples there is an air of competition making it difficult for one to rejoice wholly when the other achieves some aim or goal). Again, never once did Tim evidence any of this when he would say, in response to your new and next victory, “Awesome!”
And, yes, Tim loved you. Verily, I saw him grow in time not with the depth of his love for you, but rather, as importantly, how he demonstrated it. He was a model of devotion. He adored you.
I am happy you had the experiences of this past week with couples, finding yourself not left out, but rather very much welcomed and appreciated for being “just Loretta” (though, baby, ain’t never no “just” about you, for you, indeed, are all-of-that-and-more-than-can-be-measured!). For one of the abiding fears of widows and widowers is how to navigate life when for years they been identified as a partner in coupledom and now they are single. Bravo for you and for your friends.
Love, always and in all ways
Thank you for this!! Tim truly did adore me! Someone just shared with me what you shared, that how Tim demonstrated his love over the past few years was extraordinary. “A model of devotion”… how true!! I can’t even tell how worried I was to go out with thee “couples” but I forced myself and am glad I did. It truly is hard to NOT think about being a third wheel so I’m feeling better about that. Quite the road to come I’m sure, but am very happy that you and Pontheolla will be on the journey with me. With the three of us, it feels like triplets as opposed to anything else. I’m sure in time I’ll be able to have that same feeling of comfort with others as well.
Love you too!
Each of these posts has moved me to tears. My friend, you have the most natural way of writing such that your readers become fully involved – engulfed in – not just the story, but the emotions. What a week it has been for you. Finding that ring must have been just beyond incredible – I can see Tim smiling from Heaven as he watched over that scene! And then – to find that portfolio of “Loretta” memorabilia to remind you just how adored and amazing you were in his eyes!! Last but not least, the fact that you’re beginning your new life surrounded by love is such a blessing. Sending love and hugs from Ohio. Can’t wait to see you in DC next month!
Thank you Ann!! YES I’m sure Tim was smiling!! It’s so amazing to me that he never showed me the portfolio but clearly he’d been gathering info for years and years. Just hysterical!! I really appreciate the love and the hugs and I look forward to a live hug next month!! Can’t wait!!
Loretta, Thank You for sharing these very poignant and touching recent events. And, what an impressive account of how you found out Tim’s LOVE for you ran so very deep. This and all of your wonderful memories with Tim, whether in pictures, videos, gifts, travels, companionship, and his love will sustain you for many years to come. And, it is so nice to know of the loving friends and family that are there for you, at this very difficult time, providing you with support and much love. A great blessing, for sure! Love You Always
Winnie my memories truly are amazing!!!! Of course I wish there were more, but those 36 years of memories will without a doubt sustain me for a lifetime!! My support system is just incredible and of course it includes you!! Kim and I are very lucky that we will forever have folks looking out for us and it’s a blessing that I’m grateful for! Love you too!!