If We Had Only Known

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Lately, I find myself thinking about post topics for this blog as I go through the day. Goodness knows I have enough drafts to fill in quite a lot of space. But tonight, as I was sitting here, laptop positioned, tea at the ready, I heard some strange noises out in the kitchen. You know those movies where the leading lady hears the noise and then goes to check it out? And you, watching the film, want to scream “DON’T DO IT!” ? I rarely watch those movies because I am a big, fat chicken. I scream “DON’T DO IT” then spend the rest of the movie with my eyes covered. Yes, ma’am. I am one badass m-f. Not.

Well, the first odd noise I heard sounded like a door shutting. I ignored it. Nope, not going to fool me. Since my husband died I have a home security system that rivals Fort Knox. I convinced myself it was the wind. Yup, that was it. The wind or maybe the ice. We are in the midst of a brutal winter freeze so this old house does make some interesting noises as the ice thickens. But that noise sounded like it was in the kitchen. Hmm, nope, must be the ice.

Nuts. Another noise. Same location but different sound. OK, Madam, time to investigate. I pulled up my big girl panties and ventured out to see what the heck was going on. Turns out it was more upsetting than I had imagined. There, on the ground, was a postcard. It must have fallen off the refrigerator. I didn’t even remember it was there. The front of our fridge is covered with photos and magnets. And, apparently, a postcard.

The postcard was from Joe. It was postmarked April 11, 2011. He was on a solo trip to St. Augustine, Florida after a very long, difficult winter. He really needed a vacation and St. Augustine was our favorite spot. My daughter, in her junior year of high school, had a lot going on so she and I stayed home. He was staying at a friend’s condo and soaking up some much-needed sun, but he wrote:

“Having a nice relaxing time but wish you guys were here! We’ll plan for next year. Love & miss you. Joe”

Six months and six days later he was dead. We didn’t get to plan. We didn’t have another walk on that beach with the pelicans flying by. We didn’t get to sit on the pier at Crabby Joe’s and eat shellfish while watching the ocean roll in and out. No jumping in waves and scaring each other with tales of sharks and other creatures of the sea. If we had only known that six months and six days later he would be gone, we would have gone on that damned trip. We would have cherished every single moment of that last summer. We would have said “I love you” every single day – and every single night. But we didn’t know. We just didn’t know. Life happened and we were caught up in it and we just didn’t know.

We should have. Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. What is the expression? Only two things are certain; death and taxes. Why do we not remember this until it is too late? Why don’t we spend every day grateful for what, and who, we have? Why? I know why. Because if we thought about death all the time we wouldn’t be able to live. If we remembered that death was a certainty maybe we wouldn’t take those chances that make this life so interesting. We have to live, until we die. My friends, I am the new poster child for “Carpe Diem.”

But for now, on this cold, snowy night in upstate New York, for some strange, unknown reason, this postcard jumped off the fridge and I don’t know why. OK, it’s probably nothing. Or is it? Is it some reminder card from above? I like to think it is. And if I could only send a note back, it would simply say:

“Joe, I love you and I miss you, too.”

So, I guess this is my note back to him. And I would try to write more but I can barely see through these tears.

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One thought on “If We Had Only Known

  1. Claire

    I once had a small bottle of champagne I’d kept from the b&b Bobby and I stay at on our wedding night “fall” off the bookcase it had sat on for (?) 15yrs. That day was an anniversary of his death.
    Personally, I’d say, Joe was checking in and reminding you there’s much more living (seizing of days) left to do. Your message to him: sent and received. I’m sure.

    Like

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