It’s been almost three years since my wife Nancy left us. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday, and sometimes it feels like forever.
Different things can trigger grieving, such as a song, a scripture verse. But Tuesday was different. I knew we would grieve. On Tuesday, my girls and I laid Nancy’s ashes to rest at Pine Forest Cemetery in Mount Dora.
We knew there would be tears. We just didn’t know how many.
When Nancy died, there wasn’t any room in the above-ground niche. We waited for a new one to be built, and for the three of us to be together. Becca lives in Orlando but Emily has been living in Seattle.
So, Tuesday morn it was.
It was a tough day for us. I didn’t realize how tough it would actually be. Maybe we should have started earlier. Instead, I was home thinking about Nancy, loss and the future I wish we would have had.
I go to the YMCA in Tavares and I always notice the older couples walking hand in hand. We would have fit into that category.
Two songs kept floating around in my head Tuesday morning: “Always on my mind” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Many people have sung “Always on my mind” but I think Willie Nelson did it the best.
Too many of the verses hit close to home.
I know I didn’t love Nancy quite as often as I could have and didn’t treat her quite as well as I should have. Toward the end, I didn’t want to make Nancy feel like second best. She was the one with the failed eyesight, but I was the one who was blind.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Nancy was always on my mind, but she sure is now.
Again, toward the end I know I didn’t hold her during many of those lonely times. And I wish that I told her I was still so happy she was mine. So many of the little things I should have said and done. It’s not that I didn’t take the time, I was just trying to get by.
She might not have been on my mind then, but she is always on it now.
One thing I’m sure of, because Nancy also told me so, her sweet love didn’t die with her. I know she loves me beyond the grave. If there is anything good in me it’s because Nancy always believed in me. And though my grief is real, I also know there is a reason for it. I know I loved her to the end and beyond, too.
I mentioned a second song, “Can’t help falling in love.” Elvis sang this one and it’s the one I sang to Nancy during one of my LIFE luncheons back in the summer of 2015.
I don’t think I truly loved Nancy when we were married back in 1975, three days after Christmas. I know I had no idea of the love in good times and bad part, until I became a Christian four years later. But she’s to blame for me saying I can’t help falling in love with you.
I had no other choice.
I don’t think I ever thought about Nancy loving fiercely — until Tuesday. Emily said that about her Mom, and it makes perfect sense.
She loved fiercely — and because she does, I can too. It’s the love that God has for us.
I know I didn’t get it, but as the river flows surely to the sea, some things are meant to be.
So, I can say with confidence to my Nancy, “Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can’t help falling in love with you.”
For I can’t help falling fiercely in love with you.
Rick Reed is a columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email him at email@example.com.