Tom passed at 7:30 am on Sunday, November 14th. Earlier that morning, I wrote in my journal - about gratitude, gratitude that we had our life and our love. Tom was buried on Thursday, November 18th, they handed me the folded American flag sometime just after noon. After midnight on his burial day, and after countless drinks at his Irish Wake, which was filled with laughter, tears and lots of whiskey, I again wrote in my journal. That night I wrote again about gratefulness - for our lives together - the precious celebration that we found and held fast to one another.
This weekend I was standing outside with my sweetheart, who has walked his own widowed road, when I said that thing we widowed often say to one another - "the journey we didn't ask to take." His immediate response, "oh yes, we knew when we married." For a moment I was puzzled, thinking of strokes and cancer and care giving and standing helpless, standing witness to the end of the person you love so deeply.
We were standing shoulder to shoulder, hands clasped and he simply said, "of course, 'till death do us part." The fulfillment of the vows - unconditional love - not a fairy tale - authentic love.
After nearly six years of widowhood - I am grateful to have this man burst into my life. We both know that unconditional love - in all its messiness and all its humanness - is possible.