Her Life, His Happiness


          It was with the deepest regrets that he turned to walk away from the grave of the woman he had known and loved for decades.  She had fought valiantly, and he had stood by her all the way, but they lost the battle.  He would, from that moment forward, second-guess every decision that they had ever made, all the doctors’ advice and the quacks that proposed alternative treatments, but all to no avail.  He knew that they could not go back, and even if they could he figured that they would make the same decisions that they had made before.  He was only human and so was she, and while they may well have made some mistakes along the way, he could at least hold his head up and truthfully say that on the whole they had always done their very best.


          It started as a desire – a small spark deep within his heart – when he was little more than a boy.  She was the one he loved and always wanted to be with, and the one he always knew he would be with until he died.  He was happiest when he was with her, and he believed that he had been good for her, and he could not imagine what life would be like without her.  Even as he turned to walk away from the casket he couldn’t imagine what tomorrow would be like.  It was the single hardest hour he had ever faced, but he had to face it.


          Sometimes in life one isn’t given the opportunity to be with the one they love more than anyone else in the world even once, and yet he had many years with this woman, this precious woman, and he had enjoyed every minute of them.  In that respect he was far better off than most, and he knew that; and whereas that should have given him some comfort or joy, it didn’t.  Strangely, it seemed to make things appear worse.  The fact that she had almost died on so many occasions before, only to recover at the last moment made the prospect of the now accomplished development all the worse.  It had always worked out before – why can’t it work out now?  Why, why, why…???  He had spent months asking himself that question, but the only answer his learning and wisdom could muster was “because…”  Some religious types told him something about it being her time, and others just said that it was God’s Will, but none of those things helped him much.  He didn’t know what the “reason” was, or for that matter even if there was a greater “reason” than the illness from which she suffered, he only knew that she was gone and that nothing satisfied him.


          She had become a part of him; in fact, even he could not think of himself or picture himself apart from her.  Seldom has anyone become so identified with another person as he had.  When he planned out a day or a week or a month or a year it was always in the light of what “we” would do – never once did he imagine having to do things alone.  Even now his thoughts were of her and what “they” would do when “they” reached the house.  It was as though this separation from the one he loved was only temporary and not forever.  He didn’t even like the idea of a temporary separation, but if it was temporary he could at least plan on how things would be when the separation was over.  It wasn’t temporary, though, and he needed to be planning on reality and not how things used to be or how he wanted things to be.


          He had to move on.  If there were any other way he would have found it; there was no other way.  It simply could not be.  He would get over it, he knew that, or at least others had told him that he would, but there would always be within him, deep in his heart of hearts, the burning desire to have her back.  She had always been there and so had his desire to be with her.  He loved her so much and she had meant so much to him and he had enjoyed life with her so much… but now she was gone.  He would leave her earthly remains there in the grave, but she would never leave his heart.  She would be there, at every turn, first in his thoughts each morning, last in his thoughts each evening, almost haunting him.  But, what could he do?  Death is the one thing in the entire world that could separate them, and it visited.  There is no remedy, no lovely literature or poetry, nothing – nothing could remove the hurt and the loneliness and the emptiness that is now his life.


          There was no end to his love, or to hers; there was no end to the memories, no end to the history.  The only thing that ended was her life and with it his happiness.


H. L. Gradowith




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