The Year of Firsts

It’s been fifty-two weeks to the day that my wife Robin was murdered by the most cruel and ruthless serial killer of all time, cancer.  The disease doesn’t dispatch its victims quickly but rather takes their lives gradually over time.  It consumes its victim’s bodies, minds and will to survive while shattering the hearts of the loved ones who are forced to stand witness to the killing.

I remember Robin’s courage and her determination to maintain her dignity and compassion for others as she withered away to the frail being she was at the end, and I remember the end.  She left the world with just a whisper but I remember that soft sound very well.  That slightest change in the overall scheme of things changed my life and the way I view things so dramatically.

This past year has been a time of firsts for me.  I saw the first week of her passing come and go.  The first wedding anniversary was a night of reflection for me while I browsed through old photographs of the two of us together.  Christmas was spent with my son’s family and very often we talked about our memories of Robin, the way she loved to dance, her love for the holiday season, and we laughed at the quirky traditions she introduced and cherished.

The day of Robin’s birthday was a day I spent at her grave site.  I talked to her about our life together, and wished her a happy birthday.  I wondered if she knew I was there and almost hoped she didn’t.   I was confident she wouldn’t want me to spend the day that way just as I’m certain she wouldn’t want me to take the time to write this.  I know she would want me to spend the day talking and laughing with friends.

The one year anniversary of her death is here and it is not only a sad day but it marks the end of the firsts.  It makes me wonder what lies in store for me.  I don’t believe the years to come will have as much meaning and significance as the year of the firsts.  I tell myself there will always be reminders of the first time Robin looked at the bluffs near Noel, the first time she gazed at the new river below those bluffs and the love she had for the old barns in the fields.

I now find myself having such envy for those with unwavering faith who believe there is more to us than living and dying.  The people that, beyond any doubt, believe our souls live on eternally in a better place must feel such comfort and possibly in some way look forward to the time they will be reunited with long departed loved ones.  I wish I had the faith and conviction to follow that line of thought, but I don’t.

I would find such peace knowing Robin is in a better place waiting for me but my scientific logic won’t let me imagine that’s true.  I can only think she is gone and someday I’ll follow her with no hope of a future meeting.  What I have grown to believe only allows me to view life in that way.  I imagine that could be called a lack of optimism and most assuredly a lack of unwavering faith.

For the past year I have, almost always late at night, transferred my thoughts about a host of issues into written words.  Those words have found their way into articles contained in this newspaper.  Some of you have been gracious enough to read those articles and in some cases even discuss them with me.  I greatly appreciate that.  I hope those articles have at least in some slight way been thought provoking and may have possibly challenged you to grasp the true messages.  As you may have noticed by reading this article I still have things to say, thoughts to convey and emotions to express.

I want to say to those grieving over the loss of someone they loved I understand your feelings and you are not alone. For those who have never invested one minute of their lives thinking about anyone other than themselves I can only imagine how terribly insufferable your shame must be.  The year of the firsts has ended.  The last word in this article was written at 8:43 a.m. on July, 14 2014.

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