This year opened up with a devastating blow to our finances. In our 19 years of marriage we have gone through so much. I used to joke that we had double years…in others words and closer to what I would say, is, every one year was like two years. So, Sharol and I have been married for nearly 40 years. we look good after 40 years together don’t we,Lol. After leaving grad school I searched earnestly for a job. None came, so Sharol suggested and I agreed that after a year of surviving why not just write the book I wanted to write. From 2013 -2014 I worked on the book. I was getting nervous about being out of work for so long but Sharol encouraged me to continue. When I completed the book, the process to promote it begin…it was hard and did not do well. I’d given away many of them hoping folks would write a book review, I was wrong, so very wrong. The stress piled up on me. I enjoyed politics in grad school so I apply for a Senate Fellowship, after a 2 month wait I didn’t get the job. Four months into 2014 another job opened up, it was seasonal. I took it, it was better than nothing. It ended right after Thanksgiving. We were back where we started. While I was looking again I started working on an update of the book and added two new stories. Being a NYC teacher, Sharol had the summers off and usually typed and edited my work. That summer, of 2015, we were faced with another major scare in our marriage, we were staring at a hysterectomy right in the eye! Earlier in the year she was having massive pains and huge clots. Nothing help and naturally I feared losing my wife. After pain relievers didn’t work we went to the ER. I later found this
letter in the book of letters she was writing to me. Yes, I love reading letters and Sharol wanted to bless me. She was thanking me for being with her…like, really, where else would I be but my wife’s side. We spent the next few months monitoring her health and going to appointments for the possible hysterectomy that summer. Praise God, it wasn’t needed and I landed an assistant trainer position. I finished the book update and Sharol was done with the edit work, all I had to do was double check then publish. I did. We made it through the summer with minimal aging pains…except one. Both of our knees were hurting, Her’s had given out on her, mine felt like grinding glass. Sharol had gotten a shot in her knee, I didn’t, I had less stairs to climb…
The summer of 2015 ended, I was out of work. Sharol started her trek back to Brooklyn. The new lease came and Housing decided to “project” my summer pay as a yearly amount, added our daughter’s income and Sharol’s raise…BAM! The rent was way more than we could afford because of all the other bills we had. We all know they don’t care about that. I stopped working on the follow-up book and started looking for full-time work. Writing, was done. By November things had gotten worst and I didn’t know it because she didn’t tell me. She wanted to spare me the extra stress I was already feeling. And for the first time ever, in 19 years, we had a fall-out over money. Money! can you believe that? Not Us…never!. But it happened, it was so tense that between Thanksgiving and Christmas we hardly said a word to one another. After Christmas our eyes caught each other and we found it hard to be silent. The conversation started too, the love returned and we made up. The house was noisy again. But, this issue didn’t go away and we had a strange something between us…we’d NEVER fought over money. I later found out that my wife was carrying a huge weight on her shoulders. the credit cards weren’t paid, nor the rent, neither the tithes. She felt she couldn’t tell me…after a very heated talk, I reminded her that I am not a “millennial” our generation “doesn’t run scared of everything” I wasn’t mad at the bills not being paid. I was upset that she forgot, that we are Partners… It was finished! we tackled the problem. Now it was time act. I spoke to a friend who said he and his wife went through the same thing once and hurting finances can cripple a relationship. He fought to get me back at The Broad as we call it. I did.
We went after our debt with a vengeance. First stop, back rent and no unnecessary purchases until after the summer. But…Mother’s Day was coming and I wanted to go dancing with my lady….
Dancing was put on hold, Sharol’s knee got worse. A piece of bone chipped off and was now floating around. It cause her knee to lock, thankfully she never fell down the stairs. There were trips and appointments to discuss possible replacement surgery.
Since we didn’t have money to go away for a weekend alone, it had been 2 years since we had a weekend getaway; we decided to spend the weekend together around town. We were leaning towards the surgery. I wanted to do a dance cruise with Rhythm Revue. Last summer we had a awesome time dancing for hours! non stop! of course, we went home and took some Aleve afterwards. Unfortunately, I missed the window to get the tickets. So…. We went book shopping instead.
“😊 Slept a little later, brewed a pot of Darjeeling tea, made us breakfast then we talked..and..talked..and talk.
Had a late lunch at a diner, then toBarnes & Noble) for New books.
Then top it off with camera foolery. Home for Catfish nuggets & salad.👍 — celebrating love.” -From my Facebook page. Oh yes, I followed her around the store and the street. Watching her walk and snapping picture. She was giddy ALL day. We were junior high school kids.
The surgery was set…I was scared, we’d been planning our 20th wedding anniversary and we were having a whirlwind affair..again! The “summer love” was awesome. We planned to see a family in Africa we’ve been supporting for years, then maybe a cruise or back to New Orleans. I’d hope to surprise Sharol with a chocolate diamond ring and a celebration bottle of Graham’s 20 year old Tawny port. I had no idea how I was going to get that ring…but after 20 years she deserve it! the $55-$60 port, that was easy. We had time for a lunch date before the surgery…
She stopped by my job and had lunch in Battery Park with me. Sadly this would our last date together.
Sharol had her knee replacement on June 8, 2016…she woke up and said “I came back to to you!” the tears were trying their best to fall from my eyes. But I fought them off “Okay, now can we get you come home” I replied. She came home Friday not Thursday as planned. I had her cheese cake I promised would be waiting for her “See, a man of my word” I said. “I know you are dear”. I stayed home from work an extra day. Got up early and washed her…yeah, we giggled. Then moved on with the day. Monday I went back to work and our daughter took over for me. On Tuesday the youngest girl helped while I was at work. I came home, made a slammin’ dinner and took my place beside my woman in my chair, we watched an episode of Star Trek Enterprise, Sharol started looking at phone and I went to the room and played a game my phone. She text: “I’m going in the hall to walk” Tue,Jun,2016,8:47 PM I went out shortly after that, she was walking towards and I was joking about her knee being “straight now” She collapsed about 4 feet away from me…
Tuesday at 9:43 PM Sharol left me to be with the Lord. I spent a week and a half sleeping with the clothes she wore that night. Though it was very, very little sleep. The clothes were cut off her but I didn’t care, it had her scent on it. The smell of sweat and perfume…I clanged to her head scarf so that I could remember what her hair smelled like. I couldn’t pray, sleep, eat, think…nothing. The next morning, our youngest daughter came in my room as I was putting on my shoes, she wanted to go to school. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe either, something was wrong! She came around next to me and it felt like my heart had literally been tore from my chest. I reach out for the window and exploded into a wail. My daughter put her hand on me and I melted into a puddle of tears. I dropped her off at school…Got 30 feet away and darn near hit the ground. I was having trouble inhaling….I put my head phones on, only to hear music that Sharol and I listened and danced to. I couldn’t control the crying. Then the phone calls started….
A week later I found myself angry that I was left alone, alone to do all the planning…all the living…and die without her holding me. Followed by hours and days of numbness and lost with no relief, grieving was a luxury. I hadn’t time to really do it. Added stress from all over didn’t help. My glucose went way up…and I hadn’t eaten, even my blood press skyrocketed! ….
Then one day last week I just couldn’t get out of the bed. My daughter came everyday for a week, she doesn’t live that far from us, but I really couldn’t focus….
Now 3 weeks later, I decided to write, dear reader, not so much for you but for me. To let go, to heal, to begin to take care of me so that I can take care of my children. Sharol’s scent has left her clothes…I was sad, it felt like she was disappearing and she is. Thankfully I have pictures that remind me of her, I thank God that they don’t make me sad but rather make me laugh or think fondly of that moment in time. I still have times when I cry. Heck I spent most of the day in tears before writing this. I was paying bills and couldn’t figure out who got what and when.
I don’t have any Pearls of wisdom for you, dear reader. I’m just a guy trying to live with…..And now, without his wife. I know someone reading this gets it, it’s such a strange feeling to find yourself sudden alone. For all of you reading this who are going through what I’m going through, I pray that your comfort comes quick.
Until next time…