Six months ago today I felt as if I had stepped out of my own life and into the starring role in a really bad movie. Last week as I watched President Obama say goodbye to the country in that amazing speech, it reminded me that I hadn’t said a proper thank you and goodbye to you after our incredible 36 years together. In the hours and days immediately after your death, like a dedicated actress I stepped into my role with gusto. The “End of Your Life” movie began with Kim and I planning a celebration of life service that we knew you would love, and it truly was a joyous event!
Using all of my organizational and planning skills, I put my grief on hold and did all the things I knew you would want me to do! I sold your car, our truck and our beloved Memory Maker I. I handled your estate and business affairs and paid off our home. I brought a new car and Memory Maker II which I know made you proud! I even took two trips alone (one with RVing Women) and one with Kim and Kendal before the camping season ended! I felt you smiling down on me and on us! I’ve cried every single day since you’ve been gone letting my grief pour out a little at a time, because I knew you wouldn’t want me to be as sad as I’ve been for too long. Every day I can hear you saying “keep going, you’re doing a great job!”
I felt you guiding me as I selected the photos and wrote the words for Kim and Kendal’s birthday books and I believe I captured everything you would have wanted me to share with them. Now it’s finally time for me to write the words I need to say to you! So bear with me as I have a lot to cover!
From the moment in 1981 when you walked into The George Washington University Marvin Center in response to that bomb threat, I knew we’d be together forever.
So thank you Tim, for loving me unconditionally, for introducing me to Kim and giving me the opportunity to be a mom. Thank you for supporting me through the amazing ups and downs of my career, especially during the tumultuous end of my corporate career and the energizing start of my own business!
Thank you for supporting me in every possible way during my 25 years of active membership in ASIS International, especially during my 6 years on the Board of Directors becoming the first African-American female to serve in that role. Through the many ASIS conferences we went nearly three-quarters of the way around the world and we extended all of our trips to spend quality family time together. Thank you for exploring, hiking, biking, sailing, flying, and climbing through more than 30 years of adventures with me.
Thank you for supporting me through the search for my father, and through the illnesses and deaths of my grandparents, my beloved aunts and my sister. Though all of that was incredible, it was the care for me during my illness that earned you the Gold Medal in my heart! It seems so inadequate to just say thank you for the 13 years of my 34 hospitalizations and 20 surgeries where you did everything I needed except have the surgeries for me. I would never have gotten through all the pain and suffering without your amazing care and jokes, without your holding my hand in the middle of the night, and without you holding me and my IV pole up in the shower.
When I finally got well you turned your great deeds to my mom, taking her for four months to physical therapy after she broke her shoulder falling off a Metrobus. After her dementia diagnosis, you stepped up again providing great love and care to her for 10 years, and you encouraged me to self-publish my book about our journey, and supported my amazing book tour that took us around the country.
I thank you for the two decades of dedication and commitment you gave to MPD and the citizens of D.C. and for the incredible way you cared for your Bear Sedan clients for almost twenty years. You set the customer service bar high by always providing your clients with their favorite newspapers, coffee and snacks and by getting to know them and their families as if they were part of your own. Your clients miss you like crazy!
Thank you for the more than 31 years of cooking great meals, taking care of everything in the house and lovingly caring for our yard. Thank you for running thousands of errands for me without complaint, driving me everywhere I needed to go and most of all for treating me like a Queen! I never fully appreciated how much you did for us until now, as I fall into bed exhausted each night from trying to do all the things you used to do so effortlessly.
We made the absolute most out of our lives together and we enjoyed our adventures to the fullest! My only regret is that I didn’t have the opportunity to care for you and to nurse you back to health as you had done so enthusiastically for me. I’ll never forget waking up from every surgery to see your smiling face! You gave me the will to fight for my life for all those years and I thank you for fighting as hard as you could for yours after your strokes. I miss you more than I ever thought was possible, but I find joy in every day as I continue the journey we had planned for the rest of our lives together.
I’ll keep good watch over Kim and Kendal and will continue to teach Kendal all the things that were important to you! You laid an incredibly loving foundation for the rest of Kendal’s life and I’ll take it from here! I’ll cheer loudly for you at all of Kim and Kendal’s events and accomplishments ensuring that they know how proud you are of them. I’ll try not to cry as I represent us at all of life’s milestones and special memories you can’t be here for. For the rest of my life you can count on me to watch over their lives!
Tim, thank you for simply being one of the best people to ever walk this earth! I’m Blessed to have been married to you, to have been loved by you and to have been at your side as your life on this earth came to an end. You always used to say that you couldn’t live without me, so I hope you’re resting well with the piece of my heart I sent with you. I pray that you know you will forever be a huge part of my soul until I join you in heaven.
Love, Belinda >
Thank you Belinda!! I tried my best to find the right words!!
Loretta, in reading and weeping through this post, I’ve got 3 words: res ipsa loquitur, Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”…
This phrase (though usually applied in legal arguments to infer the guilt of one whose actions speak for themselves though no direct evidence exists) works for me because you, in my mind and heart, soul and spirit have captured the right words to express your love and loss, your grief in response to Tim’s death and your sense of the giftedness that he not only brought you in your life together, but also the gift of grace and blessing that we was in life and remains in memory.
Well you know that your comment is the ultimate comment given that you’re the man of words! So I THANK YOU! I definitely shed a lot of tears as I wrote this! Glad it speaks for itself!! Much love!
You both are amazing! Each person has these glimmers of beauty in them, some embers die off, some reach to fire. So special that you can articulate these insights. Thank you. It gives us hope in this venel period. P. Akron
Thanks Pat!! I’m so grateful for my words that have helped me get through so many things in my life!! And I’m grateful too for all of your support!! much love
That was truly beautiful Ret! I now see why writing this letter to Tim helped you so much. Tim will always be smiling down on you and watching over you. You two had an incredible life together and one day you’ll be together again to spend your eternity together. Love you tons!
Love you too, to the moon and back!!!!! It does help me so much to write!! I do know that Tim is still smiling down on me AND is probably showing everyone in heaven his letter!!! LOL Prayed for you and Dad last night!!! Let’s chat today!!
This love letter to your beloved Tim surpasses any words I can find to say how profoundly beautiful it is. But I can tell you this: I am challenged to be better and do better as a partner, a friend, and a sibling, as a result of reading your words tonight. Thank you, dear friend.
Love you Louise!!!!!!!! It certainly took me a few minutes to gather the right words!! I so appreciate your point about being a better partner! I know that earlier in our marriage I could have been as well as I was too focused on my career!! Even so, our time was glorious and I’m a much better person for it!!!!