A few of the special things that Arlene will miss about Bob.
In the last post — Let Me Introduce My Late Husband — I told you a bit about my husband Bob, who died in February. With those comments as background, this is what I will miss most now that he is gone.
I will miss walks and dinner on Friday nights.
After I had a back operation in 1984, we started a tradition of taking walks on Friday nights and having dinner afterward. In this way we visited 86 cities in Los Angeles County. We would park the car near a restaurant and walk perhaps a mile or two and return for dinner. If we were going on a long stretch, such as from one end of Los Angeles County to the other, we would walk a section of the route each week. Our walking had slowed down considerably toward the end, but when Friday night comes around, I feel a pull in my heart for those days when we knew that we had a date; and that there would be time to talk about things that got pushed to the side during the week.
I will miss having my sole-mate.
Several years ago we were eating dinner on one of our Friday night outings when I asked him whether he thought of me as a “soul mate.” He replied, “Depends on how you spell it.” If “soul-mate” means you and the other person are close in all matters of the heart and mind, we clearly didn’t fit that description. But if you think of our commitment to one another for all those years, we each had a “sole-mate” on whom we could count.
I will miss playing the moon game.
One of the things we did that bridged the gap between our different ways of seeing the world was to play the “moon game.” We would try to be the first person to see the moon each day and would shout “MOON! “ or use hand gestures to describe the phase of the moon. No “points” were actually kept, but we both claimed to have the most. This is why I have used a picture of the moon as an illustration of this blog post. When this was taken last year by my talented brother Art, we discovered the man in the moon looks an awfully lot like Bob. Each new moon will remind me of this daily game.
I will miss going on train rides with him.
Whenever Bob had a chance, he would ride the metro and loved going to museums of trains, whether these were refurbished standard cars and engines or small models. Together we had the pleasure of riding trains along the California coast and in Europe, South America and Down Under. There are many other train rides I would like to take, but now probably won’t.
I will miss taking hikes in the mountains with him.
Bob introduced me to backpacking and hiking. He hiked every trail in the San Gabriel Mountains several times; when he moved to Villa Gardens, he said that even though he would never hike again, from our balcony he could at least see where he had walked hundreds of times. However, while he loved the local mountains, he said that God’s country is above timberline. Most of his mountain-climbing was done before we were married, but we often went back-packing and I even “climbed” Mt. Whitney — from the back side.
I will miss a wonderful traveling companion.
We loved traveling and visited many foreign countries. Besides the sheer joy of having a companion on those trips, I counted on him to carry the heavier bags and to keep track of where we were going. As I said in the last post, our relationship was quid pro quo and that made us good travel companions. It will be hard to find someone to replace him.
I will miss someone with whom I can share a laugh, even when times are rough.
A leading characteristic of Bob was his love of humor. He often smoothed over problems with jokes and puns. If I asked him to do something in the months before he died, he might respond with, “But you can’t ask me to do that, I’m dying” — to which I would respond with, “Well, you certainly wouldn’t burden a person who is about to become a widow.”
I will miss someone who could explain technical issues I don’t understand.
I counted on Bob to explain lots of things. His mechanical training and his left brain came in handy when I read something that I couldn’t figure out. Now I have to use my own left brain a bit more — or borrow someone else’s.
I will most miss the presence of someone I could always count on.
I am finding that the greatest thing I miss is simply having someone here in the apartment with me, someone with whom I can share a joke, watch the NewsHour, and discuss the latest activities of our children and grandchildren. What is most tough is reaching out in bed for the hand of a long-time lover and finding no one there. I know I will eventually miss these things less, but right now they are central in my life. Note: In the next blog post — A Poem for My Husband — I share a poem I wrote to him called “I Will Always Remember You.”