What Keeps You Awake at Night?

Losing a friend or spouse

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~ Thomas Campbell

I married my best friend.

Since the time we met, she has always believed in me and been my biggest supporter. I know that without her I would not have achieved what I did in life. It has been a true partnership and we each had and handled our roles in sync with each other.

We are now  completing our 45th year of marriage. We were together for three years prior to that. So in total we have been together for 48 years. She has been with me for the majority of my life. I don’t remember the times we weren’t and they really don’t matter. Being with her is what does.

I cannot imagine being without her.

We are not with each other every minute of every day. She has her things to do and I have mine. On occasion she is away whether visiting her mother or helping our daughter with her young son. And when I was working I went on business trips while she was home with the family.

In all instances what I miss most is not seeing her each day. Sure we would call each other to touch base, but it is the personal contact I miss most. Her just being there is great. Being able to reach out, touch and kiss her and tell her how much she means to me is truly icing on the cake. There are some things in life I don’t miss. This  I do, when she is not there.

It isn’t always a perfect thing. Anything worth it isn’t. If something is worth having your have to work at it. Marriage is one of those things. And being with the love of your life  certainly is. I cannot imagine any other way and quite honestly I do not want to.

So me giving advice about losing someone like this is difficult.

I have not faced it and I really don’t want to. I know that it is a part of life, but it is not the fun part. I do believe that we will spend eternity together, but that is still a  ways away. The thought of giving up what we have now is hard to think about. I try not to, but every now and then it creeps into my mind and it is unsettling.

“There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, so just give me a happy middle and a very happy start.” ~ Shel Silverstein

I also think a  lot about my children. While none live with my wife and I (The closest lives about an hour away), I know that if I lost any of them, it would hurt immensely. A parent should never have to lose or bury a child. They are our legacy and are there to carry on when we are gone.

The same goes for my grandchildren. I cannot wait to see how they grow and blossom. To lose any of them would definitely make me lose a piece of my heart. I love hearing from them and having them call me, “Poppy”. They have their whole lives ahead of them and I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

Then there are my friends. Many do not live close by as they did not retire to Florida as we did.

I have lost some lately, ones who I was very close to. A neighbor for over 30 years was lost to Dementia. A close friend and co-worker for almost 40 years died from Covid complications. And a husband and wife we regularly went to dinner and shows with died  from natural causes, but are gone none the less.

Not living near them and seeing them regularly made the loss a little less stinging as we already had some separation.  But they were an important part of my life and their losses certainly leaves a void.

Then there is my little. furry, four-legged friend. He has been with us for about 8 years. He is now in or approaching senior status and I think about how much more time I have with him.

He is in great health, but you never know. I do know that when he goes he will be greatly missed. He is loyal and loving. He calms me when I get upset. He is a true friend who lives with me. He snuggles in the morning and whenever the mood strikes him. And he loves Chewy packages. He is a part of the family and will be so till the day he goes over the Rainbow Bridge.

I am sure anyone reading this has similar circumstances and feelings. 

We are close to many people in our lives for a variety of reasons. We cherish these folks and to lose them would be a personal blow to us.

This does not cause me to stay awake at night and to lose sleep. I know that it is the cycle of our existence and many have come before us and  are now gone. And many will follow and the same will occur. But I do think about them all, often.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

So how do we handle this loss of those nearest and dearest to us?

We can start by loving every minute we have with those near to us. Realizing each of us has just so much time in this life, we should hold each second dear and make the most of our time together.

Then, there is our faith. Those who believe that this is just a part of our time, also believe that there is an eternity where we will be united with our friends and loved ones along with our maker. For those who believe that this life is it, that concept is not reassuring to them. Hopefully they come to realize that someday they will be with their loved ones in a better place.

Then there are the memories of our time spent and how wonderful they were. Growing up, I loved my one grandmother dearly. I could not imagine life without her. She as well as my parents are long gone from this world. But I think about her and them and the great times we had and how much I love them all.

Finally, losing a loved one or ones  will happen regardless of what we do or think. While they are gone, there are still those who love and care about us. We shouldn’t forget them or shut them out. To do so would be a great tragedy. We can still miss those who are now in eternity, but we should continue to cherish those we are still with or they will be lost to us as well.

Losing those near and dear to us is a very human thing. And it does hurt. But as with all things in this life,  we must continue on, realizing how fortunate we were to have those people and beings (Yes, even our pets) in our lives, with the faith that they are not lost, but in a different place, waiting for us.

“I think the life we are living now is just a blink in the eye of eternity.” –  Keir Dullea

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