It’s been almost a month since Jud and I took a drive. No, really. May 31st would’ve been our 57th wedding anniversary, but who’s counting? Me! Since Jud left for heaven more than five years ago, you might need an explanation.
It was Sunday afternoon and I’d had it with staying inside and feeling sorry for myself. So I grabbed Jud’s 10×14 photo and headed for my car. I placed his picture in the passenger seat, then headed towards Ipswich to see family.
After cranking up the music and lowering the windows, I started smiling and waving at strangers like I meant it. Before long, I felt like Scrooge waking up after all those nightmares and learning he hadn’t missed Christmas. All that smiling and waving prepared me for the parade, which I landed smack dab in the middle of in Ipswich. I fell in behind my family and others, honking, smiling and waving in support of Black Lives Matter.
Well, after parading, the family snapped the 2020 anniversary photo of “Jud” and me. Done without words or whispers about my mental health. Then “we” got in the car to head home. After pulling away, I turned to Jud and said those four dreaded words, “We need to talk.” But this wasn’t that kind of talk. For one thing, after weeks of isolation, my backlog of words needed saying. For another, Jud had nothing to say, being dead to this world, but also listening was always one of his strengths and a saving grace in more than our marriage.
So I talked, while “we” drove the scenic route, meandering from Beverly Farms, to Manchester, along Magnolia’s coast, past Hammond Castle, and Stage Fort Park until cars began to slow, then stop along Gloucester’s Boulevard. The drawbridge rose slowly on rusty hinges, like me most mornings. I welcomed the wait, since the view’s stunning. Besides, I’d said my piece, which was mostly a litany of gratitude to Jud for all those years of listening and loving me anyhow.
Which just might be two of the most important ways to heal and bless more than a marriage during these turbulent times.
Listen and Love anyhow.
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