|They've Wandered Down the Years to Now (M.A. Reilly, 2012)|
I had expected a lifetime.
I never even questioned that we would not retire or live together well into our 80s. I looked into the future and saw us together. Rob was not a sickly person and the two times he had pneumonia, he bounced back within a week. It wasn't until two years ago that he first complained about a sharp pain that traveled across the right side of his chest. We sat up at 3 in the morning, cups of tea before us at the old round table and Rob calmed down as we made a plan to see the doctor. He had googled the ailment and came up with a diagnosis--a far kinder one than what would later be confirmed as stage 4 lung cancer. By 4 am, we were back asleep.
Holidays remain difficult. Grief does not sit itself inside me as it once did. These days when sadness announces itself loudly, firmly--it is brief and yet the initial sting is no less staggering than it was a year ago.
Fourth of July usually meant that my brothers would come for a cook out. This year was no different except of course there was no Rob. He always grilled and took such delight in it. We planned the menu, considering what I could cook on top of the stove or ready ahead of time and what he would grill--usually vegetables, meat, some kind of fish. We worked well together and always after my family left for the night, we would clean up and spend some time just talking--usually over cups of tea. Ours was a simple life.
Last night after my brothers and a friend left and Devon was tucked away in his room, I was rereading a book I had read more 20 years ago and I it caused me to remember the Cape that Rob and I had renovated in the mid-90s. That winter saw more than 100 inches of snow fall and we lived beneath the blue plastic canopy that covered the roof of our home. We were in our 30s and all things seemed possible and death did not seem like it was just two decades away. Ours was such a happy and artful home--the one where we first brought Devon.
It still cuts like a knife when I think of how brief my husband's life was. I had expected a lifetime.