I will remember

A stranger stood in the shadows outside my door. Chills ran down my spine. I knew why he was there. He held a box. In three weeks I’d lived three years. How many times had I awoken expecting to see her sleepy smile? How many times had someone come to the front door and I thought it was her. For a split second each time, I could see sunlight caught in her hair. This time it was a box. Twenty three years of laughter and love. A lifetime of dreams. The last unbroken pieces of my heart. Now just black dust in a white box. Her ashes arrived on Christmas eve.

Today I’m taking them to the mountains. A final walk with my lover to the place we first fell in love. There are no tears. No words. Just a gaping hole in my chest.

But, I refuse to mourn today. I will cry. Mostly I will laugh as we walk together and remember. Some of you didn’t know her, so here are a couple stories. Please forgive any artistic license.

Sheree was a firecracker. Those of you that know me, know I’m a prankster. We were still dating. It was a perfect day for a hike. People had not cleaned up after their dogs, and there were dried remnants on the trail. I had my arm around Sheree’s shoulder and as we walked, I positioned her so that she’d walk right onto one. I expected a smart remark or a smack on the arm. She realized what I was doing right away. With a wicked grin said, “we’re riding in your car.” Then she stepped in it. At that moment I knew I’d met my match. I knew I had to spend my life with this woman.

Her favorite story was the time she literally scared the pants off me. Early in our marriage we worked a crazy amount of hours. We almost always got home after dark. We were also going through a pranking phase where we scared each other. One night after a 14-hour day, I stumbled upstairs to relax. She was already home. The house was dark. The light was on in the bathroom and I could hear the shower. I stood by the bed and began to get undressed. Right as I undid my pants she reached out from under the bed with a yell and grabbed both of my ankles. Needless to say, pants and shoes stayed on the floor and I broke the world record for a standing vertical leap.

We remember the amazing things about people in different ways. Any of you who’ve had a meal with me probably noticed that I always ask the server’s name. I want to know about them. Sheree did that. By the end of our meal, she would know their name, about their family and love life, even their dreams and aspirations. She really cared. The next time we ate there she’d remember. She’d ask how the big date went, if they finished the painting, or passed the placement test. She shone light into everyone’s lives.

I want to be like that. She can’t ask anymore, but I can. This is how I remember.
I will always remember.