Over the years I have witnessed the miracle of life and the sadness of death. Never once though did I stop and imagine myself in that situation. The thought of anything happening to Harry or the children was inconceivable and therefore never thought of. Call it what you will denial, avoidance but the simple truth of the matter is I just couldn't see my life without them, whether your talking of three years away or three days away... when I thought of my life it was always centred around my family. I never for a moment thought that instead of me offering a comforting hand to hold after their loved one had passed from this life, that I would be the one sitting there while my colleagues and friends offered theirs.
My childrens future, their graduations from high school and college, leaving home, their weddings... all of them of course included Harry by my side with an ample supply of tissues. When I thought of our future together, I saw Harry and I as grandparents with grey hair living out our twilight years still fishing or Harry complaining as he holds my wool. Even Harry sneaking into the kitchen to steal another muffin or slice of cake. Of course I was there to nag him of his cholesteral and of course he would smile and eat it anyway. I saw all of this with the clearest of clarity but it was not to be, it was never our future.
So on a cold night in March just over five years ago now I held my husband's hand as I watched the light fade from his eyes and no matter how much I begged or cried and regardless of my training and years of nursing experience there wasn't a single thing that I could do to stop him slipping away. I will always regret not being able to save my husband, my children's father and above all my best friend. It hurts my heart to think of my future without him by my side, it brings a tear to my eye to think of myself sitting alone on our front porch but above all I will miss his smile, his laugh and the warmth of his hand in mine.
When I was a young girl I read this quote and for some reason it has always stayed with me, maybe now I finally know why.
They are not dead, who live in the hearts they leave behind. - Tuscarora