Friday, April 5, 2013

Summer Breeze Yields to the Gales of November

Dear John,
I had a busy day and a sentimental evening. Kathy has been working on the stacks of paper on her desk, deciding what to do with things and clearing them out. Clearing her desk means covering mine, which is fine because then all the desks eventually end up clean. We broke records today - Kathy left me 31 messages on the recorder, and it took me a solid hour to listen to them and take the notes I'd need to get it all done. I finished almost half of it today and hope to finish the rest tomorrow. A busy week, but extremely productive.
There's a commercial on television for something or other, that is using the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song "Our House." I've always loved the song - I used to listen to it in college and think about the life we would live after we got married. I see our first house when I hear it now, and think that maybe those were our happiest days. I'm sure they were our most care-free and optimistic - we had no idea that your radiation was continuing to cause damage; we thought the cancer was all over and done with. We expected to be able to have children, and raise them in that house. It was a very, very, very, fine house, even without two cats in the yard.
That song always leads me to Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze." When you bought the album for me, did you know that when I listened to it, I thought about how life would be after we were married? Maybe you even thought about that, too. I always pictured us in an old craftsman house in a neighborhood like those northeast of campus, streets like Lindenwalk, but the smaller houses on those streets. I never pictured us in a new, modern house. I pictured a smaller, gracious old house with lace curtains and honeysuckle, ferns, and a porch swing. And me being able to make a home for you that was restful, comforting, safe, and happy after a day at work in the outside world. I had a career, which was nice, but you were always my primary job. I was here to cook and clean and do laundry for you, to keep and decorate and care for your home, and make it a pleasant and healthy place of refuge for you. No matter how many hours I worked, that was what I tried to do.
Bless you, you always appreciated that, appreciated every little thing I did. But the one thing you were most grateful for was when I went shopping for your recliner while you were in the hospital in late summer of 2011. It felt wonderful to me, and I thought it would fit you nicely, but I was a bit tense about buying it for you and you not getting to try it out first. But you loved it. I don't think I'd ever done anything for you that you appreciated like you did that recliner. And it was a Godsend until we got that 35 pounds of water off of you. I find myself never sitting there, like I'm leaving it for you to use. So everybody else sits there. I really need to use it, too. I wonder how it will feel to sit in it now. I'll have to try it and find out.
Summer Breeze Has Yielded to the Gales of Winter
So I'm just feeling sentimental tonight, remembering the dreams, hopes, and expectations I had about marrying you. The dreams were nice, but reality was always so much better. Reality was richer than the dreams. We did have a rich, happy life together - not much money, but we got by - no children of our own, but plenty of other people's children to love and look after. And we enjoyed it more because we never had the illusion that it would last forever. As Mia Farrow says in "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy," "This beautiful summer light doesn't last forever." Your sun has set and my winter solstice is approaching. And I'm thankful for the days when July was dressed up and playing her tune, and everything was easy because of you.
Thank you for the lovely days of our spring and summer; pray for me in this early autumn,

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