3:00 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves
In Loving Memory
In Memory of my sweet Linda
(by David Broughton)
My sweet love, now you're gone forever from this earth, but never from my heart and soul. It wasn't supposed to be this way, if I had my way, we'd have taken the final step of this mortal coil together, as we did most every other step through this earthly life.
Now I'm sad, not for you, for you are now free to be what I always knew you were, an angel of Love. I'm sad for me, and what I shall miss. Not just the big things, but simple things like folding sheets together, working as a team, like we often did in many things. I'll miss my companion, my best friend, and my lover.
I'm angry, not at you, but at the conductor that left me off that train to Gloryland with you. I would have been happy to ride in the caboose. We always traveled together, I wanted it to stay that way even on that final trip.
Feelings that cannot be named rack my body, as tears fill my eyes. Thoughts of "what if" cloud my mind. I feel guilty, what did I do or not do that could have prevented this separation? Was there anything I could have done? I know this not.
I'm lonely, for you were more than a lover, you were my companion, confidant and best friend, so I lost not one but four in one. I shall miss you always, though somehow I hope to find a way to put it in a pocket to keep for private moments, so that I can do whatever job I was left behind to complete, for when that's done, I shall be with you again, for we are, and will forever be soulmates. I loved you with all my heart, the best I knew how to love. You taught me how to love, and how to receive love in return. Love is infinite, never ending. Your capacity to Love was unfathomable. No amount of time or space can put true love asunder. Linda, I really do hope you know how much you were loved by me, and everyone you met. Farewell my sweet, until we meet again in the golden sky.
Side note of explanation to the readers: The "ride in the caboose" refers to a small gift she bought me one Christmas that had much sentiment attached. It was only a simple plastic caboose, but the reason she gave it still moves me. We were sitting at a railroad crossing early that summer, waiting for a train to pass. I happened to mention that I missed seeing the caboose on the train. She remembered that, and put a note with the toy caboose, "So your train will always have a caboose."
The Last Goodbye
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 will forever be acid etched into my memory as the hardest day I've ever had to face. This was the day I had to say that last goodbye to my beloved Linda, my wife, companion, best friend, and lover for nearly thirty years.
According to her wishes, I had to arrange for her cremation. Not only did she not want to be in the ground someplace, she didn't want to burden me with the outrageous expense of a fancy funeral, though she was worthy of a royal send-off. Of course, I couldn't just make the arrangements over the phone, and not take the opportunity to say goodbye, even though in my head I know that body is just an empty shell, I could not so much as imagine letting her go and not saying the things I had to say (they will remain private.)
After some delay by the coroner's office returning the body, I needed to be at the funeral home by six in the evening. Near the funeral parlor is a big grocery, where I stop to buy a single red rose. I gave her a single red rose when we first dated, and throughout our time together. This time of year, it's still bright and sunny at that time, allowing me to use my sunglasses to hide my bloodshot, baggy, tearful eyes from the rest of the world.
I watch carefully, looking for the funeral home, just when I think I must have missed it, I see it. I guide the truck into the lot, park and reluctantly step away from the safe haven my pickup truck provides. After two or three deep breaths to keep my composure, I walk to the front entrance. Ron, the man I'd been talking to on the phone, greets me gently.
There is always the infernal paperwork to get out of the way, so Ron gives me the choice of doing it first, or after I say farewell. Knowing that once I've said my farewell, I'll be in no shape to consider paperwork, I decide we should do that first, I'm also thinking it gives me a bit more time to ready my mind for what will be the hardest thing I'll ever do. Ron shows me to a conference room, I'm aware of the table and chairs, but not much else in the room as he gently guides me through the paperwork, signing where necessary.
While he files the paper work, Ron sets me up with an ice cold Coke, and a paper towel, then leaves me alone. At my request, he takes the wedding band from her hand at my request. I want to put it on a chain to wear around my neck. Ron gets me the ring, and gives me a just the right amount of time to face up to what I have to do. Sure I could just walk away now that the paperwork is done, but the man I am couldn't do it, no way.
I don't have a clue to how long I spent with my bride, how many tears were shed, or exactly what was said. I wouldn't make it public if I did. With Ron's help, I took a lock of her hair, for no particular reason that I can think of, but something inside wouldn't let me not do it. Now I'm in a more confused state of mind, I want to, to run away, but I also want to stay, to spend every more moment possible with the remains of my loving wife. I turned to leave, but instead grabbed another tissue, turned back kissed her head, and said my final goodbye. Ron shows me out, and at my question points out the restroom.
After some time in the rest room, splashing cold water on my face, I get it together enough to go out to my truck. I get in, but don't start it, I just sit there in a daze. I try to call my friend in Kansas, she has a way of calming me that nobody else can do. She doesn't answer, so I put the phone down, shake hands through the window with Ron, minding my manners as my Linda would have wanted. I drive a few blocks, before the cell phone rings, I can't answer it, I'm trying to drive, I'm in a daze and all thumbs, I drop the phone on the floor. I leave it there until I can pull over to talk to my friend. She takes the time to talk to me for a while, just hearing her voice is calming, though it doesn't take the pain away, it allows my mind to focus better.
I had to do some other things, like give most of my wife's clothes to a thrift store operation where the profits benefit orphaned or abused children. I know Linda would have wanted that, she insisted we shop there and help out as much as we could.
The drive home is pretty much a mystery to me, though I do remember stopping once to take a call from one of Linda's daughters, by her first marriage. All I can remember of the drive home was the tunnel vision and going so slow people behind me would honk when they couldn't pass. Thirty-four miles seemed like a thousand miles in a dark tunnel.
When I get home, I try to eat, but can't get down much, I try to talk to friends online or by phone, but can't get the one I really need to speak with, the only one that can calm me. Soon, I take off my outer clothes, collapse on the bed, my mind and body are exhausted from days of little or no sleep. Soon, I fall into a sleep more akin to passing out from the emotional overload. Four hours later, I wake and find myself writing this down. Why I must, I haven't a clue, self-therapy, I suppose. Oh, by the way, I did find it odd that we were married on the 13th, and I said my last farewell on the 13th.
Please, do me a favor if you can, reach out to help a child, in any way you can. Many times some attention alone will make a big difference. Read a story, help a children's charity, do but what you can feel good about, help me honor my Linda in that way.
The Last Goodbye, a poem to my Lost Love
Ninth of April, the very worst day
My angel has gone on her way,
To God I must stand and say,
Why take my love away?
Now it's a forever goodbye, no reprieve.
I must question exactly what I believe.
If I get to meet the Father someday,
I'm certain I'll have a lot to say.
I must say goodbye to an empty shell.
I feel like telling God to go to hell.
To take my love away is wrong.
I don't want to stay here long.
Life without love is not worth a damn
It hurts so much to be alone as I am.
My joy has been stolen in the night.
No way in the universe that's right.
Linda, my love, I hope I join you someday
Maybe then I can tell you all I didn't say.
Until that time, open your wings to fly
closer dear, for the Last Goodbye.
Books by Linda and Dave Broughton
In memory of Linda
In memory of Linda
Pane for the Holidays, Ash Pane novel number four
THREE QUEENS and six bullets TAKES ALL