“What’s your name” I asked all those years ago and you said “Sheila” which I soon turned into “Shells:” we seemed to know each other which was odd, given that we were both eighteen and had never met before. In the hurly burly of life, that was our “Jackpot” moment and so we grew to share things when life went right or wrong: sometimes the sun filled every room as when our first child was born, and at other times we felt so crushed by anxieties that we thought awareness was the door to torture; but in each other’s eyes and hearts we always found our centre and that spring of life which stops the water we drank from becoming stagnant.
Seventy- four years old, and married for most of them, we’ve faced all sorts of struggles but never without each other. Nothing was harder than losing our eldest son when he was only twenty-four, in some stupid motor accident, not even his fault, but experience teaches you things happen, and life is not always merciful or fair. You are left to deal with what must be dealt with or fall victim to your own emotions and circumstances: the choice is yours, or with us was always ours, but that was our blessing: to share all things with each other.
We came through it, mindful that our two remaining children needed the sunlight that loving parents bring if they are to blossom in their turn, and they did I like to think, although there was that cupboard we could no longer open, and that old pleasure of sitting there at Christmas playing films of our children’s early years ceased to be a pleasure and then an event: we both understood.
All in all we had little to complain of in the larger scheme of things because, without meaning to, and more by luck than talent, we got the main thing right: the building of a home with someone who shares your sense of what is real and makes you laugh regardless of the facts. Through joy and sorrow we always had each other, and that made us wealthy in that special way which brings rhythm to discordant lives. The point of all this is that here we are but you are no longer present. I hold your hand, as I always have, but life is no longer in it. You taught me everything there is to know except how to live without you.