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My Dearest Bob


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My Dearest Bob,

Happy 22nd anniversary, honey. I don’t why you were taken so early. But this is what I have learned since you've been away…

1.) Your being called to heaven was never about us; it was all about you. You had been through a lot trying to manage first, your blood pressure, then diabetes and finally the hepatitis. Though we hung onto hope that you would receive a liver transplant, it would not have been easy. It wouldn’t have cured your other ailments. It would have most certainly added to them. You would have hated being in the nursing home, if even for a short time. Now, you have new life, without shots or meds or pain.

2.) You were ready to go. Sure there were some unfinished projects, nothing I’ve discovered, that I couldn’t handle with a little help from friends. You had made amends with your ex and your daughter. You had changed. By the time you left, you were a totally different man than you were when I met you. You loved your children and me unconditionally. We loved you and you knew it. We told each other every day. You had nothing to regret.

3.) It’s so sad to see Caitlin and Mike without a dad, but they had the best of you. You were kind and patient, dedicated and loveable. You will never disappoint them because of things you were physically not able to do. They will forever know they had a father that would have done anything for them. The kids are mad at the doctors. Caitlin’s angry that they didn’t test the blood that gave you hepatitis. I told her we didn’t know you then. Without that blood, we never would have been lucky enough to know you at all. Our beautiful children would have never been born. I was looking for you in the woods, in a place you would have loved. As I searched longingly through the trees, I saw Caitlin riding her bike ahead of me. And it hit me. You are here, in them. She has your personality right down to the matter of fact style of dealing with pressure. She still has the best laugh in the world. Mike could be your clone. He looks so much like you, except the gap in his smile was closed with braces. It is a gift to see what you must have been like as a little boy.

4.) Your boss says they haven’t found anyone with your dedication to fill your position. I doubt they ever will. You took such pride in doing your best, no matter if you liked it or not. You were a man of great integrity. I realized it more than ever when the transplant specialist said most people don't get off the couch when going through the interferon treatment. You didn't miss even a day of work. Your dying was such a shock to your co-workers. They didn't know you were sick. Your strength was incomparable.

5.) I am a better person for having you in my life for twenty-seven years. You weren’t supposed to leave so soon and my heart will forever ache at losing you. You, my darling, were my hero. I’m glad I was able to tell you. I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what I missed. Why didn’t I push the doctors harder? I didn’t believe you were that sick. I didn’t want to believe it. You didn’t complain. You simply tolerated and did the best you could. I don’t know if you realized how ill you were or not yet you did all you could to care for us. You made us feel so special. I thank you for arranging a special date for each of us in the few short months before you died. Caitlin will always remember our front row seats at the Children’s Theatre’s rendition of ‘High School Musical.’ Mike will never forget that you took him to the ice-fishing contest. I was so worried about you that day, watching you cold and sick, facing the blizzard to give all you had to your son. And having you to myself at the Wild game, shuffling along arm in arm, was the best night of my life. We will treasure those moments forever.

Like Willie Nelson sang so perfectly, “You were the best thing in my life I could have found. You and me, we had it all.”

Forever my love,


Psst…Give Zeus a biscuit and a hug for me. He’s a good dog, he's not a hog.

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Thanks, Mary Linda.

Bob would have been very upset with me. He was a very wonderful but very private person. I was never allowed to tell anyone he was even sick. It made it really difficult as I had to keep all the worry to myself while he was alive and not ask anyone for help.

The anniversary passed without any fanfare. I was busy with kid stuff. It was sad to have such an ordinary day.

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kathy - sorry I'm so late answering, but going through older posts, I just had to respond to yours. What a wonderful, beautiful letter. My Joe, too, was very private, and we kept his illness (illness, hell, it was cancer!) pretty secret the first couple of months. I don't think Bob would have been upset with you, at all. Your husband is alive through your children, for sure, and I'm sure you feel his presence, even just a little bit. And it's so strange you say that, about making amends. That last weekend, I called his son in California, knowing Joe was dying (Joe would not call --"what would I say?" he said) - his son and his daughter hadn't seen Joe for 20 years - so stubborn on both sides, and so sad. But they came out and we were with him when he died. Thank G-d! for them, and for me, and for Joe.

My Joe went from healthy to dead in 4 months. At the end, no one would have recognized him, but to me, he was still my beautiful husband. So I know what you're saying. I'm glad I had the 24 years.

Oh, Kathy, how wonderful a tribute! marsha

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