Back in June we got a call that changed our lives. Sal told us Don had been diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t sugar coat it, it was bad. We hoped, oh how we hoped, that a miracle would come. It didn’t, and we attended his memorial yesterday.
Several weeks ago Sal called and broke the news that hospice was there. We rushed out to see him two days later. It was a shadow of the man we knew, and yet it was still so him. We took the big girls with, and it was hard for all of us. We said what needed to be said, and drove home in quiet sobs.
This is the time of year that Sal would usually call to talk about the girl’s dress sizes and when we would get together to exchange them.
It was always an evening we looked forward too. The girls loved this tradition. We would get to their house in the early afternoon and not leave until after midnight. Instead, we stood in their house yesterday, void of joy. The conversation was light, but the air heavy with grief.
November 3, 2012
Don had requested a small service, in a luncheon setting, at a restaurant he loved. A minister spoke, and then Mark and Adrienne spoke. Mark talked about being the ring bearer in Don and Sal’s wedding. He recounted several of his favorite memories of Don. Then he spoke of what a gentleman he was. He took care of Sal like it was his greatest mission in life. They loved deeply, and it was obvious.
Adrienne struggled through her speech, but did her Uncle Don proud. Obviously not a dry eye in the place. I was so very proud of both her and Mark.
November 3, 2012
As we sat in Sal’s living room after the service, there was an awkward pause in the mindless chatter we were making. She rose and went to the kitchen, returning with a gift bag. Mark reached in and pulled out Don’s Rolex watch. It was a prized possession of his that he wanted Mark to have. On that watch, time had stopped.
There are no words to express the gratitude of that gesture. Mark will wear it with the pride and honor Don did. It smells like Don, his cologne thick on it. It smells of the man we celebrated with year after year. He was a class act, a real gentleman.
Today Mark read online how to reset it, and just like that it began to tick again. Time moves on and we must too. The loss of Don’s life will leave a hole that will never ever be filled. We will not fall in that hole though, we will walk around it to what is waiting on the other side. It is an unfamiliar path, and we have no map, but we will navigate it together until we find a place we’re comfortable. Don now lives in eternity, but for us, we still live by the tick tock of the clock.