Nine years ago the ranks of the angels in heaven were increased by one. That much I am sure of.
The dream that we would grow old together died on September 19, 1997.
As the Irish would say, she died on me. It was the only unkind thing she ever did to anyone.
Marion was beautiful -- as a young woman and also in her age. As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, "I never knew a writer's wife who wasn't beautiful."
I'll tell you the truth, she was so incredibly beautiful I fell in love with her at first sight. I know, I know, you say those things can't happen.
I never really believed such a thing happened for real . . . strictly romance, so much nonsense - until it happened for me.
Picking a mate for life based on that person's apparent beauty is not a wise thing to do. God smiled on me, though, because she was as good as she looked.
And I was right. I love her today - even though she's gone - as much as I did the first time I laid eyes on her. She was my life.
In those days, a girl could sit on a park bench and still be counted as respectable. It was a different time, so different it might have been on a different planet. It was a different century, for sure.
Fifty years ago June 30, an extremely beautiful young woman was sitting on a park bench and a young fellow came along. He struck up a conversation with her figuring, as I recall, this brush off will probably take about 10 seconds.
She responded in conversation.
The first time I ever saw her and talked to her I told her I was going to marry her. She said, "Oh, no, you're not." "Yes, I am," I said. I did.
The words of a recent song encapsulates my feelings -
"The only time I wish you weren't gone - once a day, every day, all day long; every night, from dusk to dawn."
Out of that terrible time nine years ago there was some beauty. Our daughter, Trish, one of our six, wrote this -
For My Mother
When all the dreams we'd dreamed of
Disappeared in the presence of fate
I hope you knew that we were there;
I hope it gave you comfort to know
That together we were pulling,
Telling you to fight, at first -
Reminding you how strong you are
Reminding you how silly you are to think . . .
When desires turned to desperate pleas,
And pleas remained unanswered,
I hope you felt cradled by angels;
I hope you were refreshed in a belief
Of soul-restoration, and in
Your return, a celebration -
And if you sensed our helplessness
I hope it didn't make you worry for us.
I hope you heard me sing to you
Even though I felt a little silly because
I got stuck on the words;
Amazing Grace, forgive me.
I hope you weren't afraid
As I strained to apply eloquence
To the words you wanted to hear;
I hope they felt soft on your ears.
I hope you felt my hand in yours
That last night we had together;
You had been so good to me,
And suffered for wanting to sadden us not;
And I, like turning down a child worthy of praise,
Telling you to go, at last -
Reminding you how worthy you really are
Of something greater than this.
I hope you saw in my eyes
Everything that I wanted to say
All at once - expressions of a lifetime;
But for this, time would not allow.
Open the window, Deb -
I hope you heard my promise
Before heaven came
Go swiftly now, Mother; we'll be together again!
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