“We would’ve been together for 31 years,” the defeated sound in my uncle’s voice said as he looked down at his wife, high school sweetheart. Despite what the severity of her condition did to her psychically, he still looked at her like she was the most beautiful woman on Earth. True love taken away because of cancer, a year long battle that was lost, but not without a long, hard fight. An encounter we thought she had overcome four years ago came back with a vengeance in round two.
We were there, at the hospital, to say our goodbyes. It was difficult to look at her and not expect her radiant smile, followed by her distinguishing laugh to greet you back. This isn’t Alma, I thought, as I fought back tears, numbed by emotions. You’re looking at someone who has only presented you with positive memories and think this isn’t reality staring you in the face. For a split second you even convince yourself that she’s going to get up at any moment, crack a joke, and say, let’s go get a drink. Because that was the nature of her spirit. Young-hearted, fun, humorous, happy. Her and my uncle were TH and I’s couple role models. They were the couple we wanted to be like when we grew up. Responsible parents who somehow still managed to have fun and remain in love. But her life was coming to an end and we were there, watching, not knowing if it would take a night, hours or minutes. You take a deep breath, in disbelief and hope to experience a true miracle.
December 10th, 2012, 31 years to the date of my uncle asking her to go steady was the day her body had decided it had enough. Life working in a mysterious way, puzzling us with symbolic questions we’ll never had answers to.
My mind has been going in circles, analyzing and trying to understand it all, and it never will. And as forlorn as the situation is because I feel so much for my uncle and their three children, ages 10, 12 and 21, there’s this sense of comfort I feel in knowing someone as genuine as she was. I compare and contrast the person I said goodbye to at the hospital to the person who was at my wedding, at family gatherings and events with that smile, that laugh and it calms me, knowing that’s the kind of example and attitude I can proceed with in my life to keep the memory of her going.
I usually keep things very lighthearted around the blog, but felt it was appropriate to share a bit of what the week has been like around here and wanted to pay my respects to someone who more than deserved it, on the day of her funeral.
Physically, she is gone, but her spirit will forever be embedded in our family.
Smile often and enjoy life.