Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mindful Reverie~

I won't lie to you.  The first time I saw the man who would become my husband, I almost swooned.

Yes, I'm a sucker for a uniform and he was wearing his dress blues, Air Force style.  With a mustache.  I was maybe 4 houses away but he caught my eye and, though it took me quite a few months to recognize it, my heart.  He was handsome with a capital H.  And then I saw him in his BDU's (battle dress uniform, also known as camouflage) and swooned again.  He looked just as good wearing civilians. And his heart, as I came to find out, matched the good looks.

For many months (after I managed to pick myself up off the floor), we were friends and it took my mom giving me a mom look and a "so just what it is that's going on between the two of you?" for me to stop short and re-think the meaning of friendship.  She told me she could see the sparks shooting like fireworks between us.

That spark never left.  I know-people fall in love, marry, have a honeymoon phase, have kids and get on with life;  that's the general trajectory.  Not so with me and Chuck.  We fell in love, married, never had a honeymoon for 10 years or so, but stayed in love and lust with one another right until the end.  He and I began our marriage with 4 kids between us; my 3 and his 1, so I knew we were going to have to pay particular attention to us, husband and wife, and nurture that relationship, to keep it strong.

Which we did.

Our bedroom was our sanctuary.  Our kids weren't invited to come in and loll about.  There was no family bed, no snuggling there except between he and I.  Which wasn't a popular view at the time, and maybe not now, either.  Out in the rest of the house, we were mom and dad and kids and a busy life and all that entailed.  In our bedroom?  Alison and Chuck.  Woman and man.  No pictures of us with our kids or any other relative there.  Nope.  But oh yes on pictures of the two of us kissing, or hugging, or holding hands.  We knew that we had to keep us strong if we were to have a strong family, and for us that meant creating a space where we could be just us, with reminders of just why we joined our lives in the first place.  We were, we hoped, wiser in our second marriages than we'd been in our first.

We were just as passionately in love with one another on the night Chuck died last April as we'd been 23 years earlier when we married.  He and I spent 24 years together, 23 of them married.  Yes, of course we fought and disagreed around the same issues as every other couple:  kids, work, stress, old emotional baggage.


For 24 years we hugged and kissed and held hands and made love and had wild sex and teased and we danced and danced and danced until he couldn't any more, and then we just held hands and gently kissed and said goodbye and he left me a message on my phone and promised me that, no matter what,  he would see me again and that he would always, always, be with me.

And then he closed his eyes and his body took over and the cancer ate him up and spit him out and my life with him disappeared and my body and my heart became a mass of pain and agony and now it's just me and my memory of the love we shared and if I have nothing else left to me I have that and I'm going to....I am....building a new life for myself based on that because in the end all we have is love and that's bigger than our physical bodies.

Yesterday was...would have been...our 24th wedding anniversary.  And I cried for what I had and what I no longer have and for the joy of having him for the years that I did, and the years that I must now have without him.

It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  Yes, I would do it again, over and over, even knowing the end.

I love you, D.  I always will.  I carry you in my heart.


  1. So sorry for the pain on your anniversary, Allison. The pictures are great. My husband was USAF, too...20 years..

  2. Wow, powerful and beautiful. I know just how you feel. I am so grateful for the love my husband and I shared together. Some people never experience that kind of love. My heart goes out to you.

  3. Beautifully written!

  4. Alison, I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for telling us about your wonderful husband. My husband was a USAF retired fighter pilot who served in Vietnam. He was my hero, my protector, my lover, my everything. We were together for 16 years; a second marriage for each of us. My husband died suddenly in the middle of the night of a heart attack in June 2011. There were no goodbyes and no closure for me. Rich was the love of my life and I can't fathom another love like ours for me again in this lifetime. We met on a Friday night and were together until the night he died. Like you, I would do it again over and over even knowing the end. Karen

  5. Alison...the love and passion you describe is what I had with my John...2nd marriage...only 5 years married.....wanted so much more...yet grateful for the 5 we had....
    Your words were beatifully written...thanks for sharing.
    Sorry your anniversary was so painful yet understandable too.