One year ago today, Scott called me from the hospital to tell me the bad news. His sister Lindy was sitting down by my side and, unknown to me, already knew. Scott wanted her there with me when he told me. My first reaction was a gut-wrenching NOOOOOooooOOOoooOOOOOoooooo! that seemed to emanate from the core of my very soul. I screamed that No! for what seemed an eternity. The echoes of that scream are still bouncing around in both my heart and off the walls in our home as I try to make sense of the events of the past 12 months. Why did it happen to us? Why was Scott’s life only 62 years long when both of his parents are nearly 90 and his grandparents all had longevity on their side, too?
The plethora of love notes he wrote me during our courtship and our life together bring me solace but also tears. He treasured my notes & letters to him as much as I did his (I keep finding cards I wrote him that he squirreled away for safe-keeping in odd places…tucked into a favorite book, a shaving kit, pinned to a closet wall…). His often were in the form of watercolor paintings like this one; tiny treasures that made me feel safe in the world, knowing he had my heart and my back at all times.
Am I greedy to want more time with my beloved? I know that others have not been so lucky to have fair warning and don’t get to spend extra time together like Scott and I did. But still I feel unprepared for his death and the finality of this parting. I can’t believe Scott is no longer with me. We were in each others company 24/7. He must be here. I can hear him in the next room snoring as he takes his mid-day nap. I can hear him in my mind speaking to me when I ask him questions. I can hear him playing ping pong downstairs. The dogs hear him, too. They listen for his footsteps on the stoop, ears cocked towards the front door. Ever on alert to meet their Dad with wagging tails and tongue hanging grins, Loolie and Hershey seem to know that Scott is gone but not gone. He is everywhere now. Free and flying wherever he wants to go, like those butterflies that he painted and then embodied to give me—us—hope. Of what? That maybe it doesn’t end. Maybe, just maybe, death is the beginning and not the end. We don’t get to know until it’s our turn to fly.
Hershey & Loolie waiting by the front door.