When I first opened the bed and breakfast several years ago, a wonderful couple came to stay the night. We had some very pleasant evening conversation and they promised they would be back, and they were. I am not sure the total number of times they were guests at the bed and breakfast, but our friendship blossomed and when the closure came due to the flood, the couple still came to the area and always called me to meet them for dinner.
She was a feisty, robust woman, full of fun and laughter and many smiles and one could see in her demeanour how she adored her husband of many long years. Although he is an octarian, has battled cancer and won, and has some health concerns, upon meeting him, anyone would think he was in his sixties, however; he is in his eighties. She was ten or eleven years behind him.
I got the news today while a friend was over visiting this morning. He called and matter of factly stated she had passed away, but his voice belied the emotion that was not in his words. She was the woman of his dreams and how they loved to tell the stories of those early days when they met and the sparks flew, and of the whirlwind courtship and marriage that followed shortly thereafter, and the many, wonderful years together. He was still her man and she was very much that vixen that he fell for so long before. And then, in a matter of months, she was gone.
She fell ill in December, then one condition escalated to another in as quickly as she was sick, she was gone. Life is precious and precarious at the best of times. She was vivacious and charming and one would never suspect that in a short while, she would be no more. Certainly, he would never have guessed that, given his tribulations with his own health, and the difference in their ages with she being his junior.
We are never prepared for that. Even when the diagnosis is terminal, somehow, we are simply not prepared, not willing to say goodbye, not to make it a permanent departure. I felt that way when my father died. I was there. I held his hand. He took his last breath and I somehow believed there would be another one, but there was not. That was all. I knew that the time had come and there was no more and yet, somehow, I waited for another intake of air. I waited, not wanting to say goodbye to the hero of my life who had seen me through so much. I think that is it.
We are not prepared to accept that departure from our lives as final, the end. Sure, we have memories, and in our hearts, we will always carry the fond thoughts and feelings for our loved ones. But when it is the end, and the final breath comes, those left behind really do take a closer look around themselves. Not once did it cross my mind that I would be next, but I am quite sure, that thought never crossed her mind either.
I will miss my friend, her jovial laughter, her lovely, warm smile, that hug you feel in your soul and those beautiful kind eyes full of mischief and love. There but for fortune, go you or I. Rest in peace, dear heart.