Last week, he had an unexpected massive stroke and never recovered.
Ironically, he had worked his last day on July 2nd, taking the week of the 4th as a vacation week. This week, I was going to introduce a new blog, "Down on the Farm," commemorating his antics for the world to see.
He was an avid farmer. As of the last six or seven years, he raised sheep. I listened to his plans. Sometimes late into the night, and often, when he was either buying or selling, he'd say, "going to the living room to sleep. My mind's on the sheep." He'd kiss me and leave the bedroom.
There were many times he'd come in after feeding or fencing, just a fussing. Those dang animals. I checked them just last week, but now I have two ewes wormy. Or not just a few weeks ago, he said, "Looks like a ram isn't doing too well. I gave him a shot." The next day, "Well, the ram died."
He took each up and down personally. He loved them like children. It was the same way when we had cattle and hogs. Not so much the goats but the rest were like family.
This city girl took it all in stride. Because it was part of him, it became a part of me.
Another aspect of "Down on the Farm," would have entailed, my husband's penchant for teasing. As my son sat in his father's chair, putting together a slide show; me going through every photograph we have, I was disheartened at not seeing his contagious smile. As, we recalled the past, talked of the house we lived in when the children were small, (our blended family consists of his two daughters and our son). We reminisced over Christmases, other holidays, vacations at the beach, and sorting to find the right farm pictures, I still couldn't get a single picture with his bright smile.
After the slide show was put together, I found one. I took a picture of him opening a Christmas present. I remember the exact moment. I said, "Hon, look at me." There it was. The smile I had been looking for in all the other pictures that had been missing.
It wasn't in the others because the smile I was looking for was always reserved for me.
Who knows how often I'll come back and send my loving guy a message. Today, I've written all I can.
Here's a paragraph I wrote in my letter to him.
You were constantly teasing me. I made you go to counseling once, and the therapist was accurate. You are a passionate man. Making love was fulfilling, fun; I could add adventurous and fireworks. But learning who you were in our life together, the constant teasing, laughing, me standing beside you silently as you talked to everyone in the room; oh the times you said, ‘I’m ready to go,’ and I waited thirty or forty minutes for you to say goodbye to everyone in the room.
Baby, I'll always love you.