More than a week past deadline, I finally have taken a few deep breaths and will try to get this column written. Typically, the ‘Marg-Ins’ column appears the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is running a week later than normal this time.
Being the editor comes with certain privileges, one of which was giving myself a break on writing this last week. It’s because the subject matter is very personal and painful. Many people in the community are already aware but there could be some readers out there that don’t know; my husband passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 21 and the last couple of weeks have really been a whirlwind of emotions, planning, getting through the funeral, trying to regain a focus at work; and more.
First and foremost, there is no way for me to ever thank all those people in the communities we serve that have expressed their condolences with cards, flowers, plants, food, thoughts, hugs, emails, texts and phone calls. The outpouring of love and support has been nothing short of astounding and I can’t fully express how much that means. The funeral service was beautifully done and it was a standing room only event. That in itself was comforting as well, to know there were so many people my husband impacted over the years.
Going through this experience has made me realize that you just never know what is going to happen next. Never did I think he would be gone so soon. Never did I think this past Christmas would be the last one we would share. Never did I think he wouldn’t be there for our daughter’s high school graduation next year … or her birthday this coming weekend. You just don’t think of those things at the time. We had been through so much together over the years … it just seemed like there would be more to come.
We got married in 1995 in upstate New York – the first time he went there with me, when I went home to visit my parents. It was the first time he had met my mom and dad and though we had been discussing the idea of marriage, he always said he would “never get married.” I told him to “never say never.”
Before we left New York, we were husband and wife.
Part of that circumstance, however, can also be attributed to his family back here in California. He was the one boy in the family, surrounded by five sisters.
We realized if we did get married in California, we would have five well-meaning sisters all trying to plan it their way. So we just did it our way, in a very simple afternoon ceremony with my parents as our witnesses, after a morning visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Not traditional, but it worked. And he never actually proposed; we just basically decided it together and bought our rings early in the New York trip, wrapping it up with the wedding just before coming back to the west coast. We were at Doubleday Field when I mentioned that he hadn’t proposed yet. So against the backdrop of baseball’s birthplace, he asked if I would marry him.
Pragmatic as I am, I looked at my watch and told him since the ceremony was in three hours anyway, I might as well say yes.
I inherited two stepsons when we got married and they were six and five at the time; our daughter arrived a little later. Now 24, 23 and 16, all three of my kids are too young to have lost their dad. Sometimes I think my heart hurts more for them than it does for me; I just want to make it all better but I know I can’t. We are all a little broken and are trying to put things back together but it is a painfully slow process.
People have been concerned and caring; it’s kind of an oxymoron that I seem to be doing okay until someone sees me and asks “how are you doing?”
Back to work, and at an accident scene recently, one of the ambulance squad personnel came over and asked how I was doing. I shared that little anomaly with her about being fine until someone asks and she agreed it was a Catch 22. She didn’t want to not ask, she said, but she also didn’t want asking to be upsetting.
For those that have asked and have showered my family and I with your love, we couldn’t be more grateful. The truth is; it does help to be asked how I am doing because it reminds me of how much support is out there. Between family and friends, and with time, the pain will become a little less intense. And whether it’s a high school senior coming over to hug me as I get photos at a basketball game or a neighbor offering condolences while I am in line at the grocery store; thank you all for helping me get through this. There’s no way I could do it without you.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.