Everyone asks me, “How do you like your new home...It’s really a wonderful setup for one.”

Ah, there’s the rub. I spent 62 years with my husband, so how do I like my new home...I don’t. I deplore the silence; the empty echo of remembered voices; the loneliness of solitary living; reaching for a hand no longer there; not sharing my thoughts with a kindred spirit; not being a couple.

The dates of Jason’s birth and death are imminent. He was born on Feb. 1 and always insisted on leaving our holiday decorations up until then, which I still do. He loved the Christmas season with its glorious pomp, and because Jason was a talented sculptor and wood carver, many of the decorations we use were made by him. Another reason he enjoyed Christmas was his belief in the goodness of people and his delight in seeing them able to express their kindness, at least once a year, openly and with no holds barred.

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We were always together and truly enjoyed each other’s company. Because of our great love we were able to face many hardships and trials. Holding fast to each other, we came through every ordeal stronger and more in love than before. 

Jason died on Feb. 6, 2016, five days after celebrating his 86th birthday with family and many friends. It was bittersweet because we knew his life was ebbing away. He never complained and went quietly into that “good night,” knowing that “raging at the ending of the light” would be useless.

I often wondered, in those last few hours, how I would face life without him. We had married for “happily ever after,” but what comes after “after?” He was my rock, my inspiration; we breathed in and out in rhythm. He gave me the confidence to excel by always being there for me. As I look at all the photographs of the two of us, I see such adoration in his eyes, more than I ever realized when we were together.

Perhaps those who love less are more fortunate and can adjust their lives more quickly to losing a spouse, but I don’t think so. I believe the kind of love Jason and I shared, and still share, is strong enough to conquer even the chasm between life and death and is worth every bit of sadness I feel.

So, do I like my new home? No, because memories cannot replace the physical presence of my husband, although his essence will live in my heart forever.

I leave you now with this very important piece of advice: Kiss your husband, kiss your wife, make every moment count because time is relative and, in a flash, is gone, taking “happily” with it and leaving only “ever after.”