I find it interesting how judgmental some people can be, but I brush it off and recognize they just don't know all the circumstances of what they are judging. I have mentioned before that Mike left a 5 page letter on his computer for us. It is hard to read because I can see where his thinking is misguided. He said he had been writing the letter in his mind for a long time. I always knew I would out live him, and so did he. In the letter he left, Mike gave me instructions on what to do with everything; what stocks to sell (which luckily I did) and which ones to keep, what property to sell, what to do with his cars and stuff, everything was pretty laid out. And true to Mike's style he had piles all over the living room floor with directions on what to do with each pile and who it should go to. He tired to cover every detail. He even mentioned the fact that the blueberries and strawberries were coming in and not to waste them.
So when someone comes along and judges me as a hard callous wife who just wants to get rid of her husbands stuff, I took the high road and laughed it off. They have no idea of the lists of things Mike left for us. I followed Mike's instructions with one exception, I didn't bury him with the quilt I made him in college. I still need it; too many memories.
The personal messages Mike left for me were a bit harder to handle. It is how he felt, real or not. Here are a few of his words, "Grace, well, we had a few good years and some fun times, but it never was much of a marriage was it? Now you are free! Free of me! I hope you will find someone to spend the rest of your life with who will bring happiness into your life. I recommend you forget I ever existed. I have always loved you even if I wasn't 'in love' with you. You have been my best friend for more then 29 years. I thank you for that. I hope you don't have a funeral for me-I am not worthy of one. Save yourselves the embarrassment."
Obviously he was wrong. He was loved and admired by so many people the funeral was packed. I didn't even see all the people who had signed the guestbook. Even the online guestbook has messages from friends living in different parts of the world. We have no clue the impact we have on the lives around us. Mike was great at making people feel good. His smiles, handshakes, caring nature and absences of guile were truly a gift. Friends had described him for years with the word 'integrity.' It was a lot harder for him to be as loving to his family, but that is true for all of us. We all need to work on treating our family as wonderful as we treat others.
So am I a hard callus wife, no, for once I am doing what he asked of me. I will never forget he existed, but I will try to move on with my life. Holding on to precious memories and making new ones. I will never be, nor do I want to be 'free of him.' In fact, this post was the hardest one to write and caused the most tears. You see in the back of my mind the thought creeps out every now and then that maybe I failed him. The 'what ifs,' that I try to stay away from, are the killer when I am alone with my thoughts...