It has been over three months now. The last chapter of my love story is harder to write than the first but I must tell this so I can move on.
A family member will ask: "Grandma, why do you put such personal feelings out on the internet, why do you put your tears out where people can see them?”
I answer: Because I write. That is who and what I am. Words are my breathing.
Here is my story of love and love continuing after his body no longer keeps me warm, after his nibbles on my ear no longer bring my giggles.
It happened a couple of weeks after they had taken his worn out body away. There came a loud clap from the bedroom, the kind of clap that Ed used when he wanted my attention, when he decided I had done enough talking and it was time for his say-so.
I went to the bedroom in a hurry, surprised, looking to find what had happened. Oh, just a shelf from the little bookcase had fallen. My little three shelf bookcase, not Ed’s, sitting on my dresser, with a messed up array of knick knacks.
I walked over to find that the shelf had landed on one of Ed's handkerchiefs, crumbled as though he had just pulled it from his pocket. All of his clothes had been given away and I was puzzled as why this lay on my shelf, how had we missed it.
Picking it up and something fell. His keys! His house keys which he had not used in two years. He had wanted them when we made his last trip from the house over eight months ago for a flu shot. There was no need for them, I had my keys, but he wanted the feel of them in his hands and I searched diligently. Pants pockets, dresser drawers, under the chairs but with no success. "We're late honey, let's go. They will turn up."
And now they have turned up in one of his good handkerchiefs, the soft cotton with the drawn border around it, a monogram of curlicues, probably one of the expensive handkerchiefs he had brought home from John's estate. John, his brother-in-law, his good friend, his buddy in humor and the quick quirp. His buddy who was waiting to welcome him.
I hold the handkerchief because his warmth is on it. Something else falls out. A butterfly. A butterfly encased in silver. A butterfly, the green of the sea, with a wave of light coming on to a sandy shore.
How did this get here? The necklaces that I create are all in the other room. They are never stored in the bedroom. But look again, Mariam, this butterfly was not purchased by you. Later I would search through my color print-outs that I keep of all of the stones I buy from around the world and this butterfly is not among them. It has come from the sea of space.
Later I would check with others and they could not tell me the name of this stone. Later I would make a necklace of cat's eye and stylized silver and a bit of China jade and I would buy a couple of green blouses to put in my closet of blue blouses.
I can wear it with my tiger eye bracelet which I had made for Ed and he wore constantly, even in the shower, and it still has his feel.
At this time Ed is still with me. His arm surrounds me when I wake up with the morning sunshine on my bed. I can hear his answers when I ask my questions, asked so many time before, "Ed, where did I put such & such?" I can even feel his worry when I cross the street, double checking traffic both ways.
Then came the night of the 8th. I won't remember the month, but the date will stay with me, along with the 18th when Ed left. I was watching an evening TV show, rocks spread out around me, finding the right pieces to fit for a necklace.
A loud crash came from the patio. It might have been one of Ed's claps, only much louder. I dumped my rocks in a heap and rushed out. There on the concrete floor of the patio lay my case of earring supplies. It had fallen from my work table, silver hooks and sparkle stones lay all around. Durn it, what happened. I was putting together special earrings that would be for the ears that Ed had bought when his 86 year old mate said she wanted her ears pierced. There had been great reluctance on his part. He didn't want any holes in the ears he nibbled. I explained I wanted to be pretty for him. He thought about it overnight. The next morning he handed me the bills for the procedure. “Go for it, kid.” The next week he would help me pick out butterfly earrings that would be his gift for me. The butterfly earrings he paid for arrived broken and now my earring supplies were all over the place.
It took me a minute and then I called out to the dark sky, "Ed, are you telling me something? Ed, is this a message?" No answer, the sky remained black, no moon appeared.
I picked up as many of the supplies as I could see in the dark, went inside, turned off the TV, put away the necklace I had been working on, and went to bed.
It was that period just before sleep, not awake, not quite asleep, when I heard very clear, in Ed's voice," Mariam, I am telling you I love you."
His usual words when talking to me were "love" or "sweetie-pie." This was a serious address when saying "Mariam" and now he was firmly answering my question, “Mariam, I am telling you I love you."
And he left me again. There have been no further arms around me in the morning, no further tickles to my ears. I still ask when I can't find something, "Ed, where is . . . ?" and I hold the tiger eye bracelet that will forever have his warmth, and wait.
Ed wanted to believe when I said “We will be together again. We will come back and have more time together next time. We will come back and have six kids, all as special as Fred, and we will learn to dance and we will travel to see all the places we saw but not together.”
He said he believed, but I could see just that little bit of hesitation. He wanted me to be happy. The thirteen years we had together were so special that I know we could have a special lifetime.
He left me telling me he loved me. He didn't say he would see me again. I can only wait.
This is my story. It is a love story telling you that love continues even after the worn-out body has left. And I write because these words are my breathing and my wishes and my dreams.