Today, 10/22/2018, would have marked 30 years of marriage to my beautiful bride, Lynn. Thinking back in time, even more than a year away from our 30th … we both were looking forward to this big milestone. We were excited about it for a couple of reasons … 1) it’s a pretty significant accomplishment to be happily together for that length of time and 2) we’d be heading back to Hawaii to celebrate it. For our 20th in 2008 … we took our first ever trip to Hawaii and spent ~10 days in Maui and as Lynn would say … “loved, loved, loved it”. From that point we decided every 5 years we’d head back to Hawaii. In 2013, we were off to Kauai for two weeks … we loved it even more … so, I’m pretty sure we would’ve been back to Hawaii again this year.
A few weeks ago, I started working on Lynn’s wardrobe … preparing it to be donated to a couple of area charities. It’s taken me quite some time to muster the courage to do it. Her clothes have stayed essentially untouched in our closet for over a year. As you can imagine, taking on such a task was pretty emotional. Not to mention a lot of work … that girl, like so many of you ladies, had lot of clothes and shoes. Although emotional, it wasn’t all sadness and tears because as I sorted, folded, and packed her things so many memories, wonderful memories, flooded my mind. I found it to be an interesting coincidence that at the time that I made up my mind to start the project, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was playing on the house sound system. Now that song in and of itself brings back incredible memories from the start of our relationship in the early 1980’s … but this was something particular at this moment. Just as I entered our closet and started handling her clothes … Robert Plant starts singing the line “Ohh, it makes me wonder. Ohh, it really makes me wonder.” And I just paused … contemplating what I had started, thinking back to all we had experienced together for the 36 years dating back to the beginning of our relationship … and I just shook my head and said … “yeah, it makes me wonder, I’ll always wonder”.
I can’t help but wonder at times how our whole world got turned upside down so quickly. I still, to this day, will at times shake my head in disbelief that this actually happened to us … I guess it’s only natural to “wonder”. But I think, more importantly, I’ll remember and honor her … I’ll cherish the memories, the so many beautiful memories. And I’ll continue to refuse to let how her life ended … define her life.
To that end, in addition to this blog, another way that I’ve chosen to remember and honor Lynn is through a non-profit foundation I started earlier this year … Lynn’s Love Story Foundation. The Foundation’s first fundraising event was a golf tournament held in Connecticut back on July 3rd. For our first annual tournament, we decided to donate the proceeds to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). AFSP is a well-established foundation doing great work raising awareness about suicide and funding research to combat it. After settling all accounts following the tournament, I was proud to be able to issue AFSP a check for $20,728. Now it doesn’t stop there. In remembrance and honor of Lynn, to raise awareness about suicide, and to continue the fight for the prevention of suicide … I’ll be leading a group in an AFSP sponsored “Out of the Darkness” community walk to be held in Wilmington, NC on Sunday – November 4th. I’ve included the link to the fundraising page if you’re interested in helping us reach our goal.
I wrote a post a year ago where I said “hopefully someday the wonderful memories of times shared with Lynn will overcome the pain and heartache that I feel today”. You know, it’s still so surreal for me that she’s gone. It still hurts … and I’m sure it always will. I can say that the waves of grieve come less frequently and they are less severe than they were a year ago. I guess I’m seeing signs of what I wrote a year ago … and that’s a good thing … it’s part of healing. And although there’s part of me that I’ll never get back and my mind will at times “wonder” … I’ll never stop cherishing the memories and I’ll always honor that wonderful lady.