Chapter 1: In Loving Memory [Part 2]

The following week was an anxious one for both of us. Each wondered if the other would want to date again. And you, my darling, to make sure that I would accept your invitation to go dining and dancing, alone together, your note was delivered with a dozen of long stemmed American beauty roses, your favorite flowers.

There was a song that was very popular called “Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses.” We had danced to this beautiful ballad the first night we met. I understood your message, but just the same I prayed you meant it. At the end of this wonderful evening you asked permission to kiss me goodnight. As you kissed me you whispered “I love you.” And I answered, “I love you too.”

You told me afterwards that you walked back to the hotel like a man to whom a door had opened, that he may look into heaven. Those were blissful days. Some of the sweetest days of our lives. Days that can only live in memories.

We were married one year later. January 17th, 1925. It was an elopement, at Boston Massachusetts. In the rectory of the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, by Father Dailey.

I had been looking back across the years, but this was today, and the future was ahead, a dark, drab, and dreary winding road which I cannot visualize without you. The journey seems so arduous and so, so long.

Is it such a waste of time to close our eyes and dream? My restless mind was looking for escape, from sorrow and distress. But it wasn’t to be, with faith and courage I went back to your room.

You were lying there with the same dear, sad, white face, asleep. Three or four days, I had assured you. The tests will determine what is causing your discomfort, and then I will take you home, my dearest. Meanwhile during your stay in the hospital, I shall not leave your side.

But it was to be death, before us. Even asleep I did not dare to look at you with despair. I forced myself to be calm. Rehearsing a scene I would play for you to the end. I looked at my face in the mirror, I was reassured. You would notice nothing, my features, my smile, were just the same. No, nothing was written on my face. Sorrow would mark it later, but now it still showed my past happiness. I was preparing your bath which you enjoyed so much, you took both my hands in yours and kissed them, I returned the kiss on your lips. “You’re such a wonderful wife,” you said. I replied jokingly, “You’re my very best husband.” I sensed and felt that you were trying to find an answer, as you looked at me with that tired smile, that seemed so forced and painful.

The stretcher is coming in the room, an orderly slides you from bed to stretcher. You looked at me with a half smile. “On to the torture chamber,” you half whisper, and kiss my hand, and I brush your face with mine, and in a way we had separated forever. This sight of you wrapped up in a blanket, and strapped on a stretcher, was to be our last communication. Less than an hour later I would see you again, still under the influence of the anesthetic. Never to waken from this enforced sleep. You slept through the night; for short periods, you regained consciousness.

I don’t know whether you really saw me or did you know I was with you every minute? The night hours ticked away slowly. The room was in semi-darkness. The hospital was at its quietest. I held your hand, and occasionally the slight pressure reassured me that you sensed I was with you. You were breathing shallowly, easily at first, but then it became an unending struggle for breath. The painful exertion, the terrible rhythm of the semi-comatose breathing. Despair overcame me, you were drifting away into a void. Our children had been called and those you loved so dearly and loved you as dearly in return, were at your bedside. You seemed to sense, or did you know, or did your love which was so strong reach your waning awareness? It seemed as if you were breathing easier again, your hand in mine seemed more relaxed, your eyes were closed, and you gave a very slow gentle sigh, and you had gone. I kissed your still warm face and whispered, “Sleep well my love,” for you had left us as gently as you had lived. Your eyes were closed in endless sleep.

You were pronounced dead @ 10:30 am Thursday November 13th 1969.

I was escorted by my children into a small quiet room. There were many decisions to be made and plans for the funeral had to be faced. But with great compassion, and understanding, I was left alone in my silent grief.

My thoughts wandered, and I tried to reason why, but, there are things we cannot understand, and you either have faith that there is a reason for everything, or you will eat yourself up with despair.

The unbelievable emptiness of a world without you was something I could not accept. How could I live without you?