I went shopping for a coat today. I had a black one picked out when I heard your voice in my head as you had said so many times before "You look beautiful in colors." So I put the black coat back on the rack and picked a green one instead.
Being without you is not getting any easier, Honey. I find memories of you every place I look; construction equipment, the warm sunshine coming through the window, the view of the mountains, the sunset. You are with me every step of my days. Perhaps time will make it easier, but life has never been easy for us has it Honey. We both found out early on that "Happy Ever After" only happens in fairy tales.
Being your wife was the most important thing in the world to me, but darling, I was too young to know what being a wife really meant. My father died when I was nine years old and for those nine years he spent most of his time in the hospital. I was raised by my mother and really didn't know how a relationship between a man and a woman should be. I also didn't understand the demons you battled. I struggled to understand how you could possibly be jealous over me; to the point you didn't even want my Mom to come around me right after we were married. You were the only man I had ever loved or would love for the rest of my life. You were handsome, intelligent, witty, and charismatic. I was just......me. I didn't understand that your moodiness masked an array of problems; problems that would threaten to destroy us for many years, and problems that I had no idea on how to solve or even live with. But my darling this is true. Even through your darkest hours, God gave me the ability to see through that dark to the man waiting there to be discovered. You would say many times over the past two years, how sorry you were for those times. But Darling, I would do it all again in a heartbeat just to have the life, love and family we ended up with.
The first ten years of our lives together went by so quickly. Having seven children in those ten years seemed to speed the years along even faster. We worked hard as a team didn't we? You taking over the business when your dad died and my doing the books and taking care of the children. I know later you would regret our staying in our little three bedroom home; having five girls in one bedroom and the two boys in the other and all of us sharing one bathroom, but looking back, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Our children learned to play together, to talk to and confide in each other, to share and to love. If you were to ask them today if they had any regrets being raised in our little red brick house, each one of them would tell you "no".
They would remind you of the nights we camped out on the lawn and gazed at the stars and you would tell them stories. They would remind you of laying in on our bed with them all gathered around us as you had them pretend the closet was the camp fire and the shoes were logs to be thrown on it when a chill filled the air. They would still remember singing "It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and then everyone putting their feet in the air in a soft shoe dance at the chorus. They would remember going on our family vacations, looking for wild animals and being paid a dime for each one they saw.
They woud remember climbing in the back of your truck and going for ice cream on Sundays and lighting fireworks in the street. They would have wonderful memories of the past.
Would they have bad memories. Yes they would. The dark times did not evade them. They were a part of it and it too would influence them. But later, they would find the blessings behind those dark hours.
Back then, a chemical imbalance was unheard of and it was a chemical imbalance that you had. We would later learn that it manifests itself in a variety of ways. With you, it was jealousy, anger, and self-medicating with alcohol.
I should have been more aware of the old saying "Be careful for what you pray for." I prayed that God would make you so sick that you never would want a drink of alcohol again. As I was praying, I was thinking along the lines of a stomach ulcer. Instead, in 1980 the chemical imbalance would cause you to slip into a deep depression that would last close to five years. Back then, mental or emotional illness was still considered a problem of the mind; not a physical one. In 1986 the fact that a physical problem could be causing mental illnesses was just beginning to be recognized. However, it was not soon enough for our insurance company to pay for the medical bills. We ended up losing everything we had worked so hard for during the past twenty years. Even through it all though, we had some pretty amazing times didn't we?
Remember our lawsuit against the Federal Land Bank? We had bought our home and 40 acres in West Mountain and we owed $91,000 on it. During the course of our trying to get back on our feet, the Land Bank and their attorneys has tacked on an additional $67,000. Of course, we didn't have money to hire an attorney but we knew a little about the Federal Land Bank. We knew that years earlier, the FLB had had their own financial problems and the government bailed them out under the condition that in the future, should any of the stock holders (which we were) have financial difficulties the Land Bank was to afford them the same privileges that the government had given them. So you and I filed a lawsuit (Pro Se) against them.
They would call us and tell us they were going to foreclose on us and we would tell them to go ahead. If they wanted more charges tacked on to our lawsuit to start their proceedings. This went back and forth for a while until we grew tired of it and we added their attorney on to our lawsuit. Our suit said we were suing him for 2-million dollars. Within about a week, their attorney called us and told us the Land Bank was willing to settle. They would accept the $91,000. as the amount we owed. When we went to their office to sign the papers their attorney said "My wife was really unhappy about a 2-million dollar lawsuit."
We had been told by everyone that we couldn't win. We were told that State Law gave them the right to tack on attorney fees and interest and we kept telling everyone that we were not dealing with State Law here. We were dealing with Federal Law. They didn't believe in us, but we believed in each other.
The time would come when the medical field would recognize depression and emotional illness as a physical problem and treat it as such. I think that now My Love, you can see the meaning behind everything we went through. I believe you can see that perhaps it was you that decided in the pre-existence to make the sacrifice to fight the demons that you fought knowing that if you fought them, we would recognize the same demons should they manifest themselves in our children and grandchildren.
I love you my Darling. I love the life you have given me. I love the children and grandchildren that we share. Where ever you are please remember that I am here....a breath away....loving you Far Beyond the 12th Never.