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A Reminiscence

When I was in Tucson recently I stayed with a high school friend who graciously allowed me to invite myself into her home. Fifty plus years past high school brings incredible changes in all of us, so we spent some time reacquainting ourselves. Barbara surprised and also blessed me with the question, “Why Rich? What was it that drew you to him?” I got to talk about some of the wonderful things about my husband of 46 years. Sometimes the simple answer would be, “There’s just no one else like him,” which I suppose is true of everyone, but even more so of Rich. If you knew him you’d understand. I told Barbara that I never knew a more courageous nor generous man. He was truly courageous in myriad circumstances, never did I doubt that I was utterly safe in his care. He was not a “tame lion,” but he was good. His generosity knew no bounds whether it be his money, his time, his gifts, his wisdom. His courage and generosity combined when he was not afraid to tell you exactly what he thought! He was generous to share his faith and to carry heavy burdens for others. There was so much more I could have said. Sometime after our initial conversation I texted Barbara and said, “laughter.” Never ever did I enjoy more laughter than in my years with Rich. Barbara gave me a gift by asking me that question, and I could find it easy to talk about that man for a very long time. But subsequently I’ve thought much and realized anew that no one ever loved me so fiercely and deeply as he. He once wrote a song for me when he was on a trip. When he came home he sang it for me. I found it written on a yellow pad and framed it, but I can scarcely look at it without weeping. And I was saddened when all the voice mails I had saved were lost when I got a new phone. Some were sweet, some just asking for something at the store, some cryptic, “Guess what’s my favorite nickname for you?” He had so many terms of endearment, but I never got the answer to that one. I know I will never lose his voice in a song, or in a message, but there was something comforting about being able to hear him ask for a favor. The dance of the leftovers was especially rough this year as it was the first real one we had since he left us. And he is such an integral part of that event: in choosing the songs, and the spirit of joy and gratitude that permeates the time. We were still “Taking Care of Business,” admiring the perfect hair of those “Werewolves in London,” and I could just see him delighting in our line dancing, even in later years watching from his wheelchair but making it fun for others. I also know that Rich was not perfect. He was a terrible patient far too often in his last few years, too stubborn at times. Yet in spite of all, and living in constant pain and frustration, he still was a gift, though the package was much bruised and battered. So I thank my kind and hospitable friend for reminding me how blessed I am to have shared so many years of life, love, laughter, joy, and sorrow with this remarkable man. Thanks!

Regan

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