When I started writing this book I was in a dark place grieving some loss in my life and feeling a little sorry for myself. My husband was ill and facing a dangerous surgery in which he was going to lose his leg. Fear was my constant companion. Miraculously he survived the surgery, recovered, even thrived and we began to look forward to the future. It was only a leg, after all. He still had his arms to hold me, his wit, his smile and he was no longer in excruciating pain.
The book began to take on the usual characteristics of my stories. Romance shined through, humor reappeared and it became the most sexually graphic novel I’ve written taking me well out of my comfort zone. Finally I was able to take my grief stricken characters, Claire and Travis to the happy ending they deserved. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I had no way of knowing that a week after finishing the book I would be a widow.
On September 6, 2016, a beautiful morning here in the east, we sat at the dining room table having our coffee and watching the birds at the feeders engaging in their usual squabbles for supremacy. Everything seemed so normal, so calm as we waited for his physical therapist to arrive. Bill seemed tired, but that wasn’t unusual if he had a bad night and I wasn’t really too concerned. I’d begun to let my guard down and he promised me a million times that if he felt anything was wrong he would tell me. His words were always, “I don’t want to leave you.”
But he did leave me that morning, in a heartbeat he was gone, sitting right at the table, without warning. My worst fears became reality before my very eyes. We did everything we could, me, our daughter, his therapist, Nina. The paramedics, the staff at the hospital all did their best, but I knew the instant I looked into his eyes, he was gone. The big man who had such presence left this world on a single breath.
I debated putting this book out, wondering if I’d cursed myself by writing it. Claire’s grief at losing her husband is now but a poor reflection of mine. The reality is so much worse than any fiction I could have written. While she gets her happy ending, my own happily ever after is no more, a cruel twist of fate to be sure.
In the end, I regret nothing beyond the loss of the amazing man. Even knowing how our love story would end, I would do it again. Bill held me when we brought new life into the world and held me as we watched loved ones slip away. He was my hero, my husband, my lover, my best friend for more than forty-five years and I wouldn’t trade a second of that even though my heart is broken. He made me laugh every day, at myself, at him, at the absurdity of the world.
Some people leave this world, their passing causing but a ripple on the sea of life. Others cause a tsunami. That was my Bill, leaving behind a massive wave of grief that has swamped all who knew him.
I dedicate this book to my husband, Bill, the man who loved and supported me since I was sixteen years old, the man I have loved with all my heart for all my life. In his coffin I placed a small bouquet of red roses. The card said:
Oh my love, I’ll miss you so.
Truer words have never been spoken.