The First Year

Michael W. Lamb

The First Year

Saturday June 5, 1999

This particular Saturday is a sad day. This is the first anniversary of Bev's death. Death sounds so harsh, but what else should I call it? We are all born to die someday. It is something that most people avoid discussing, perhaps because they find the subject a bit morbid, or from fear of something that they do not understand. My wife Beverly and I had talked about it quite often and I think that is the reason that I was able to get through the first days, weeks, and now, one year.

I realize that I will never see her again in this life. I will never hold her or kiss her or watch her smile. I will never find another partnership like ours again. That's what almost 40 years of marriage is, a partnership. Not just getting along, but sacrificing for each other out of love, admiration, and respect.

I admired her for her patience in raising 5 children, and putting up with my shortcomings and idiosyncrasies. I respected her for her honesty and courage. Above all, honesty in all things. Both of us always told each other the truth about everything. We had no secrets. We had an open door policy with each other, that we could talk about anything without fear of hurting each others feelings.

I have no regrets about our life together, or think that I should have done this or that, had I known that she would die so suddenly. Even our last day together had the same happiness that all of our days had. The last words that we ever said to each other was, "I love you". We parted with a kiss just as we always did as I went to work that day. Little did I know that I would never see her alive again.

It is difficult to determine what part of the year was worse. The first few hours and days were terrible. I think that I was in a state of shock, kind of numb to any outside contact. The letters that I wrote for Bev's funeral will always be permanently etched in my mind. I think that they were a fitting tribute to the love of my life.

The nights during those first few weeks and months were very difficult, because the house seemed so empty, just like I felt. The Christmas holidays were especially hard to get through. The main reason was that it was Bev's favorite time of the year. She enjoyed the shopping and always thinking of a little gift for everyone. She enjoyed sending out Christmas cards to everyone.

New Year's eve was not too difficult, because Bev and I never made a big deal out of it. We usually stayed at home and we would drink a toast to each other at midnight. We would say, "Here's to another great year ahead, may it be as happy and enjoyable as the one just ending". This New Year's eve, I had one glass of wine and raised my glass to Bev and said, "Here is to you and to all of the wonderful years that we had together".

Our wedding anniversary was very hard for me to get through this year. May 16th would have been our 40th anniversary. We had talked about renewing our wedding vows this year in the church where we were married.

Without a doubt, except for the day she died, the saddest day of the past year is today, June 5th, the first anniversary of Bev's death.

There are so many memories spinning around in my head. A few sad ones, but mostly they are all happy ones. I think of the day we first met, our first kiss, and our weddings (both of them). I think of when each of our children were born. I think of all of the family reunions, picnics, and just weekend cookouts. I remember our vacation trips to Florida and to Nashville, and many others that I can't recall at this time.

I especially remember our anniversary getaway's. We had a few of them in Canada, and one in Atlantic City. One anniversary we spent in a park and had a picnic on the grass with a bottle of wine, grapes, and cheese packed in a picnic basket with a blanket spread out on the grass. We watched the ducks and geese swimming in the pond, and just enjoyed the quietness and being with each other. Last year on our anniversary we spent a wonderful weekend at a bed and breakfast in Skaneateles. Little did either of us know that it would be our last.

Today I went to church at 9AM. The mass was in Bev's name. I picked that particular morning mass because that was the hour that she died. My eyes and heart are full of tears. This day I feel so alone. I feel like the Ancient Mariner's verse, "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink", but in my case it is "Joy and love everywhere, but none to quench the pain in my heart".

I hope that the coming years will get a little easier, but there will always be certain days that have a special meaning, like today.

Michael W. Lamb

You can send email to Michael W. at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 6-5-98
date of post 6-20-99

[return to home page] [column] [book excerpts] [honor page] [discussions page]

Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW