Born and raised in New Mexico, daughter of a Black man and Hispanic mother, I would look at my blond haired, blue eyed husband and think I was the luckiest woman in the world. No one could be more sexy and attractive to me! I looked at him and my girlhood fantasy came to life! We had a romantic courtship: we met at UC Santa Barbara. Our college courtship included holding hands and walking on the beach, picnics watching sunset, long, leisurely Sunday afternoons. We had a loving, caring, nurturing relationship that grew into marriage and two beautiful children.
Of course we had the normal ups and downs when the kids were younger, we were sleep deprived and overwhelmed with life, and the daily tasks seemed endless, but through it all, we loved each other. Work was stressful for both of us and we treasured our family summer vacations when we built memories together. We loved to travel and when we weren’t going back to New Mexico to visit our relatives; we traveled all through the United States and visited many National Parks. Life with my husband was everything I’d hoped it would be… We supported each other’s dreams, were a “team against the rest of the world” and felt safe together.
The kids grew up, married and now live on their own. Just when you think everything is in its right place, something happens. One morning last winter, when we were each getting ready for work, my husband was taking an unusually long time in the bathroom. I was in a hurry to get to an important client meeting and needed to finish putting on my make-up. I knocked on the door, asking “what was taking so long?” I pushed open the door and my heart fell to the floor. My beloved was slumped over the toilet with his towel around him. He had stepped out of the shower, but then had a massive heart attack. My world ended that morning.
For the following month, life was a blur. People stopped by, food appeared at mealtime and I continued to go through the motions of living. I get through each day, but am somewhat numb. I haven’t moved his clothes out of his closet yet, and it’s already been six months. In the den, his sweater remains draped over his favorite chair. His slippers haven’t moved from his side of the bed. I wake up and want to go back to sleep, hoping I’ll roll over and he’ll be there. When I get up, I’m still shocked at how quiet the house is. Each evening, I keep imagining he’s about to come home from work and we’ll go out to dinner… but I eat mostly alone, when I have the appetite to eat anything. My kids have been amazing through this. They dote on me and call daily to check on me.
This wasn’t in the script I’d planned for our retirement. We were supposed to enjoy our grandchildren together. We had talked about taking a cruise to Alaska…
My advice to others is to appreciate your loved one. Tell him daily that you love him. You never know when you’ll have your last goodnight kiss.
Has this happened to you? What advice would you give to someone in this situation?
Please share your response in the comments section below.