A Good Man is Gone

He died Friday, March 24th.

The week before his death was a blur of successive miseries as he retreated into pain and distance. His death tore the fabric of my soul and left a void that nothing can fill.

The two weeks since his death have been a blur of required ceremonies: visitation, funeral mass, the interminable waiting for cremation, and then finally, today, a small graveside ceremony where he was interred in his mausoleum.

His sister and I picked up his cremated remains from the funeral home and drove them to the cemetery before the service this morning. The box I received was heavy, 10 or more pounds, compact, and dense. In that box were the hands that held me and smoothed my hair, that held our children, that fought and bled and made music. That box held the smile that could melt me from across the room. The eyes that could instantly calm my most anxious moments. The voice I harmonized with. The heart that beat slow and strong. The tattoos. The laugh. The dimples and the dark hair. Every kiss we’d ever exchanged. Turned to dust.

Tonight, as we watched a movie that contained themes of a boy’s difficult relationship with his father, my eyes drifted back and forth over our children. I stared into my phone for long minutes, a picture of him centered on its screen… the key piece that was missing from the kind of evening we used to live for.

Oh, honey. Where have you gone? How do I do this without you?

During the day we can stay busy and perhaps pretend you are simply working or at home resting. …but at night…. At night when I want to snuggle up next to you – my reward for long, difficult days managed, when I want to reflect with you on things the children have said or done… those are the moments where I feel I could die. Being ripped apart by wild dogs would surely be a more merciful fate than to have known you, loved you, been loved by you, and lost you so soon.

I’m thankful for the children. Thankful for family and friends who have held us up when our strength was gone. Wherever you have gone, my love, hold on. I will meet you there when my journey is through.