I met the love of my life in my teens when we were both working for a clothing retailer.
The wonderful smile is what I remember when I recall that first moment we saw each other. I stopped to check out the new girl since I was working at another store for the same chain. She sold me a yellow shirt, which she said looked good on me, and 37 years of joy had just begun.
We married and had four children within five years. Being young parents on a tight budget, it was hard to make ends meet and get the children to all of their activities. My wife always instilled education in our children and lead by example. She volunteered daily at the local grade school, worked nights and took care of the home.
She always said we could live on love and many months it sure seemed like it was all we had but it was all we ever needed. We managed and watched our kids grow into wonderful adults.
Once the children were out of the home and onto college or the service, we found ourselves to be empty nesters. I remember the first day we were home alone after so many years of children's voices in the house.
We found it was easy to slide back into our former life without kids. It was time to do all the things we put off for our children. We had finally gotten to that place where every day is a joy and not a challenge. We had grandchildren and my wife was fired up to start the thing over with them. The nice thing about grandchildren are they are sort of a do over for a grandparent.
We started taking vacations and spending time with our family. Life was good. My wife went back to school and got that degree she had put off. She tried to be better each day than the day before. She handled life as as well as anyone I have ever seen. She had kind words for everyone and found joy in random acts of kindness.
She was diagnosed with cancer in April and died in October. I watched her maintain her poise and dignity during her illness.
As anyone else who is commenting on missing loved ones, it is an extremely difficult journey. Sharon would not want me to be bitter as she was not a bitter person. Sharon would wish everyone a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a great new year.
There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled. I will try by singing to her favorite song, visiting her garden, hugging the grandkids and remembering our life together. Remember the good times, continue the traditions and hold hope you may be together again.