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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Missing My Wife

Let me first say this is a portion of a letter I wrote to some friends today when I was at Andrea's grave site. I was sad at the time and these thoughts are my raw emotions of the moment. The grave site draws me into the physical reality of losing Andrea. So my reaction was purely in the physical. Today was a day to miss her and I was selfish in my grief. I know this is part of the process, she was in fact my wife and friend for over 27 yrs so I know grief is part of it. And this grief is based on the physical reality that I am alone now. I want you to know my faith is still strong despite these words. To me this is how grief feels without hope and I wanted to post this so I would remember the pain of today.

I'm sitting at Andrea's grave site as I type. It is a pretty day, the sun is shining and I miss my wife. I just want her to come back to me, but she won't. It is all too real here. What is she doing in the ground? What happened to my wife? I don't understand right now, I want to be sad right now. I guess I need it in some way. I feel guilty for being happy and living. I went to a retirement today at work. That blindsided me with grief. I could hardly sit through it. As soon as it was over I was out the door. In fact looking back I left before the "official party" even made a move. Too funny I guess. Andrea and I were supposed to have that day. I wanted her to have it, for all she did for me. She missed our pin on for 0-6. Why couldn't we have that day? I wanted people to know that what I am is because of her. That it was Andrea that told me I could do it when I was scared. It was Andrea that told me I could make it when I wanted to quit my job and join the AF. It was Andrea that allowed me to realize my dream to fly. I grew up with posters of pilots on my walls and listen to “High Flight” when the TV would go off at night. I wanted to fly, and it was Andrea that told me I could. She gave me my dream. I was able to do the one thing in life I wanted. And I got to do it with the woman of my dreams. It was her belief in me that gave me the will to try and the strength to succeed. Now I sit here by her grave, wishing I could tell her again what she meant to me. I think people will tire of me talking about her thinking I'm making it up. I'm not. It was just a miracle how we were able to be one. I doubt I will ever have that again, but I hope I will. It was a good life, a happy life. When it was scary we had each other to hold, now she is gone and I hold onto a key board to help me think it through and you become my ear piece. I was identified by her. The short one, the unique one by my side. Always looking up to me with her eyes that adored me. She loved me so much I felt it in her eyes and her smile. She wanted nothing more then to be with me and I with her. Now she is gone. Who am I now? I'm just Jim, a widower who feels out of place everywhere I am. Alone or at work I'm the odd ball. A young widower, to be pitied. I was so loved before and so happy. Now I sit alone in a cemetery, white tombstones neatly lined up with names of who knows who, but one is special to me, a small temporary metal marker, Andrea J Ravella deceased 17 Dec 2007, date of interment 21 Dec 2007. How can that be? She should be at home waiting for me to get off work, resting on the sofa tired from cancer. I hate cancer with every part of me. I hate pink ribbons and the word survivor. I hate it. So many times I would lay may hand on Andrea’s chest and think how close those tumors were, just below her skin under my hand. But I could not get to them; they were off limits to me. I felt they were laughing at me as they took her from me. They just kept coming back and hurting her. I was supposed to take care of her and make the pain stop but I could do nothing but watch the cancer take her. I could not take her sickness. I asked God to give it to me many times but he did not, I had to just watch it kill her. All I could do is hold her and offer unanswered prayers to a God who chose to be silent. Hold her as she vomited for the 1000th times or ached from the drugs and the pain as the tumors began to cash in on their success. When she would look into my eyes I felt such love in her for me. It was far beyond anything I had experienced in my life. It was love at a different level, one I could not comprehend. Do you see how much I owe her? Why I spent my life trying to thank her for all she did for me? I always told her she started it and I was just trying to pay back what I owed her. She did not deserve this, yet she accepted it. She had every right to tell God no, this is not fair. She honored her parents and her husband. She kept the faith and her worse sin would have been my greatest accomplishment. Now I sit at her grave site.

She would have loved it today, sunny and almost 70, the perfect day for her. Her chair still sits beside our house where she would sit on a sunny day or when Anthony and I would play catch. She would gather the energy to come outside and sit and watch us. Hurting every moment I’m sure but smiling watching us.

I’m out of tears so I guess I need to go now. I do believe Andrea's life and death were God’s will, and Andrea was happy to do what she did. But it still hurts me. I guess I’m being selfish. Andrea sure wasn’t that. Andrea wanted nothing more then for me and the boys to be happy. I guess it will just take some time to feel happy without feeling guilty. Maybe someday but not today.

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