The last week was stressful, sad, happy, and amazing, all in their turn. On the 8th of November, Ron’s grandmother Irene died one month short of her 92nd birthday. While Ron felt like he couldn’t go to the funeral because his new boss started work that following Monday, I finally managed to convince him that he needed to be there, if for no other reason than to support his dad and his sister. Fortunately, the funeral wasn’t until Wednesday, which gave him time to greet the new boss and get her somewhat settled on her first day. We rented a car and hit the road early Tuesday morning. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling relatively decent, so with the help of my Nuvigil, I was able to do half the driving, giving Ron time to work from his laptop and the company cellular hot spot card.
As we drove, we spent a lot of time talking about his family, and the first time I met them. It was Thanksgiving of 2001 and he took me home for his cousin’s wedding. His family was all really nice to me, and I had a great time. The funny part of that trip was that I suggested we drive up 281 to get from San Antonio to Grand Island. It looked like a straight shot on the atlas…but it wasn’t. Instead of going straight north, 281 goes about 2 miles north, 4 miles east, 10 miles north, 3 miles west, etc. It took us 22 hours to make a 15 hour trip. We got lost in Lebanon, Kansas, and accidentally found the geographic center of the United States. Even as we entered our 18th hour of driving, Ron was still sweet as could be and never got mad or blamed me for the extra hours added to that trip. I knew by the time we got to Grand Island that I was going to marry him someday.
This trip, we were smart and went straight up 35, so it was 15 hours almost to the minute. We would have gotten there sooner, but we stopped for coffee once and made a Walmart stop just the other side of DFW. In spite of the sad occasion, we laughed and chatted while we drove. I’ve always said that traveling in a car with someone for a long trip is the quickest way to test compatibility. The world shrinks to a microcosm of two, and if you don’t like each other, it gets irritating awfully damn fast. I was thrilled to rediscover how awesome my husband is on a long drive.
Oddly enough, one of the few rooms available in GI for those few days was the “honeymoon suite” at the Travelodge. The website boasted a jacuzzi tub and a king size bed. We walked in to find a tub the size of our queen sized bed, smack in the front of the room! If I could have packed that thing up and brought it home, I would have done it. The king bed was also a treat because we were both able to spread out all our electronics and yarn and work stuff and still have room for us. On our queen bed, there’s room for me and my yarn, and sometimes the cat.
On Wednesday, we went to the funeral service, then hung around with the family for a while. Ron’s dad and step-mom came back to the hotel with us for a bit to see some videos and pictures of the kids, and then we decided to go out to dinner. While we were hanging at his grandma’s, I asked if I could have any extra pictures of Ron as a kid, if anyone else didn’t want them. I got a small stack right then, with the promise of more later. He was adorable!!! There’s one pic of him as a pre-teen and he looks like he’s straight from the set of Saved By The Bell. Seriously hot!
We headed home first thing Thursday morning, and got in around 11pm. By the time we got home, something amazing had happened…we fell in love. All the reminiscing about when we first started dating, plus the time away, plus the time spent talking honestly about our relationship and what we really want, while facing the idea of our mortality…It made us realize that we are where we want to be. Best of all, I want to spend the rest of my life with him, and he with me.
The last week has been an extended honeymoon, with more talking, going to dinner without the kids, and lots of “alone” time with each other. A year ago, I never would have believed I could feel this way about my husband, especially after almost 11 years of marriage, but I am madly, hopeless, ridiculously in love, and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I feel like he loves me, too.
So thank you, Irene. Your life was well-lived, and your death was a spark for the celebration of life, love, and family. I’m sure you would approve.
“And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known”