Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Importance of a Life

He raised his head from his cell phone, our eyes met, "Whatya' think, five or six years old?"

Silent, I wasn't sure whether I should nod or shake my head.  "'Haven't a clue, really.  I have trouble remembering how old I am." I couldn't believe this guy could remember how old my washer was! Wow, he's really passionate about machines.

"If it sounds like a lear jet, then the bearings are gone. It's not worth it to fix it." My washer has seen better days, witness to smelly athletic socks and pockets filled with nails.  Four out of eight kids were still in the house when I first purchased it all those years ago.   Guaranteed multiple loads on Saturdays and through the week here and there gave it regular, intense work outs.

Hogan, the appliance guy pushed this button and that one at the same time, while he read the codes off of his phone to bypass the system and diagnose the problem.  The drum turned and the water splashed against the glass door.

"It's loud, but there's no grinding sound-at least that I can remember," my voice sounded like it was coaxing my washer toward health; urging  it to accept repair.

After about 20 minutes of button pushing and water sloshing, the lear jet took off.  I need a new washer.

Soon after the bad news, Hogan emerged from his van with an invoice. During his house call, I communicated how persistent I was in locating him for his service.  It had been maybe six weeks that we have limped by without a washer; my adult daughter mixing our few pairs of socks and underwear with hers.  All that while, I called people, "Hey, do you know a guy named Hogan who does appliance repair?  He's really good.  We've had him before. 'Just don't know his number." I searched the internet and purposely knocked on a few doors in search of Hogan. Finally, a desperate plea on FB uncovered his whereabouts in less than five minutes and within fifteen minutes I had an appointment scheduled for the next day.

While I wrote a check, Hogan slapped a magnet with his contact information on my refrigerator.  He stepped back eyeing the disarray of photos, art work and a eclectic mix of magnets, some having lost their full capacity to hold anything. 
"Oh, you have one already. See?" He pointed to his magnet that had slid down the door to about belt height.  

"What?" I couldn't believe it.  Long ago, my husband had placed Hogan's magnet for easy access displayed next to other important things like the pediatrician's magnet and a homemade over-sized birthday card from my daughter.

If only I had known that I had his number all the time.   I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.   Since my husband's death, I realize there is so much that I don't know. For instance, I don't know anything about the wood furnace so it sits cold in 22 degree below weather.  We thought we had a little time.  Time to talk about the working details of the house, the lawn mower and the plow truck. Instead his last days were spent talking about love.  My mind is sometimes preoccupied in a swirl of complications.  I try not to dwell on all that I don't know.  I try not to be consumed by my responsibility of carrying the role of single mother and widow.  There is so much my husband did impart to me that was really more important. He taught me how to be compassionate and kind.  He taught me to be generous with my knowledge and time - imparting virtues over knowledge.  Everyday with him was a gift. I miss him.  Oh God, how I miss him.



15 comments:

Paula Bourque said...

Your post took my breath away. Building a life with someone is the culmination of so many little things that mean so much. I can only imagine how each time one of these small moments hits that you appreciate and miss him even more. Sending you a hug this morning. Courage doesn't roar, it gets up and puts one foot in front of the other. I can feel your courage!

travelinma said...

Paula, Your kind comment made me cry. It means so much that I evoke emotion and share my journey. I am in hopes of helping myself and others' face loss with grace and courage.

Carol said...

I've never been married, so I can't begin to imagine the loneliness or starting over like you are having to do. You sound like you are so, so strong... Wishing you courage and hope for the journey!

Sonja said...

Beautiful post---heartbreaking and real. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

travelinma said...

Thank you Carol for the good wishes. And Sonja, thanks so much for visiting my blog, reading and posting. These comments all mean so much to me.

Rita said...

We tend not to think about every day details until they are forced upon us. You will grow in more ways than you can imagine. Each new accomplishment should add a smile to your face that He would be proud of you!

Claudette Guay said...

Reading had my arms full of goosebumps. Hugs

Beverley Baird said...

What valuable lessons your husband imparted. The other things you will learn as needed. May you be surrounded always with the lkove and support of your family and friends.

Judy said...

It's all those little things that we (as wives) take for granted. Somehow they all get done until we have to figure it out for ourselves. These are difficult times for you and many others who are experiencing loss. Just remember that you can and will be able to take care of yourself and your children because of your husband's love and compassion. Hugs and prayers

travelinma said...

Rita the realization of details have unrolled gently for the most part, for this I am grateful aside from the week of toilet troubles and an ailing washer. I consider myself fortunate, as hard as it is.

Mrs. Guay....thank you so much for sharing your reaction. I hope that my journey can help others. Or at least help those who have lost loved ones, not feel so lonely.

Beverley, my husband was quite a man. I believe that God brought us together for more than 37 years. I learned of a depth of love I never knew possible. I am blessed.

Thank you all for visiting and taking the time to read and comment. I so so appreciate it and it helps me to connect with other writers and readers.

Mary Ann Reilly said...

I so connect with this. After Rob died, I too realized all the things I did not know. I also learned, like you, I could be resourceful. Wishing you peace and kindness as you journey through this,

sunshyntangerine said...

Love and compassion are more important things. There will be plenty of opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the runnings of the house. Just like the woodstove, you will come to understand how everything works in time. Your love and compassion too has touched the lives of all those around you. People will support you and help you learn things that came so naturally to Uncle Jerry. Just like you found the repair man! You struggled for hours doing everything you thought of to try to get his number, and when you reached out your answer came in five minutes! People are here for you!

travelinma said...

Thank you Mary Ann. How long has it been for you? -Barbara

Linda B said...

I loved the way you manage to show the scene so vividly, Barbara. What a good writer you are! And that you connected that washer loss to something you're just discovering that your husband left behind is a sweet segue into the things we don't think about when someone passes. Spending your last days talking about love seems just right to me. After these three years, I still remember our hand-holding, can close my eyes and feel that touch. That counts a lot to me, and I imagine to you. We can always find a Hogan, which is its own blessing. Thanks for the sweetest words.

travelinma said...

Linda, thank you for your encouragement. I too miss the hand holding, running my finger across the ridge of his nose or twirling his unruly mustache. It is a strange mix of gratitude and sorrow when I talk about our love. Emotions are really all over the place.