I miss Bennie. Valentine’s Day would have been our 32nd anniversary. Yes, things were bad at the end. But, I’m hard pressed to remember those things, as I seem to have burned thru the bad memories now and I only recall the ones I like…the happy ones. He was such a great father, and he loved his job and, once upon a time, he loved being my husband. And I, more than anything, loved being his wife. It’s true…when things went bad, they went very bad. But, for a very long time, they were so good that I know I’ll never have that with anyone else.
Even when things were bad, I always woke up to a heart shaped box of candy every Valentine’s Day. Not this year. This year will be the same as last year. I’ll wake up, alone, as I do every day, and nothing will be special or fun and the day will drag on as I keep remembering that it’s our anniversary and he’s not here. Unlike last year, though, I will remember ‘good’ Bennie and the wonderful times we shared. I’ll wish, much as I do every day, that I could be with him, somehow. No matter how bad things were with him, I’d give anything to have him back. Even if it were just to say goodbye. I always wanted him to be happy and I will never understand why he just wouldn’t leave and go be happy with someone else. I think that, if he had, this would all be so much simpler. I hate that he died so unhappy with me and our life.
I feel so guilty that I didn’t eulogize him, (or pick someone else to), at his service. It wasn’t really a service as much as it was a visitation, considering that it was so disorganized. But, I just couldn’t get up there and talk about what a wonderful husband he was when three of his girlfriends were sitting in the pews. I never realized anything as quickly as I realized that his friends and I knew two, totally different, people. In that moment, I felt frozen. It’s intimidating to have ‘the other women’ at your husband’s funeral. I was barely there, anyway. I didn’t even dress up. I could barely force myself to go and, were it not for the boys and the promise of a bottle of whiskey, I probably wouldn’t have. It was just too much. It’s still too damn much.
If I could go back in time, I’d have left and stayed gone. I would have made him move on in life without me. I know he’d have found happiness and love and all of those things we want for our loved ones, even if it hurts. He would have still died at the same time, I’m sure. He’d outlived the doctor’s predictions by three years. He knew he was on borrowed time. We all did. BUT, it would have been a happier time. Maybe he’d have given up pills for someone else. Or, someone else would have had the job of watching him to make sure he was breathing that last year he lived. Maybe, when she poked him on the arm to rouse him, he wouldn’t have screamed at her, or put his hand on that fucking rifle. Maybe he’d have treated her the way he should have treated me. I promise you that, if he had, he would’ve had a very happy woman on his hands, in spite of everything else.