There was not much else to say. We talked for a while about any number of things. But Gloria was the one on our minds. I wish I could have been there so that he didn’t have to live this day alone.
They were married 60 years. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be alone after all that time. This is his first Christmas, her first birthday, since she died last January. My brother was there until Christmas Day. I flew in that night and spent a few days. My daughter and her husband came. We had one of our special Danish lunches and I made a Danish dinner one night.
It was all very nice. But Gloria was not there. It was still her kitchen, but knives and dishes are migrating to other drawers, other cupboards. Her way of keeping the kitchen is fading. We didn’t have fresh fruit every morning, as she would have insisted. I wasn’t sure which were the right towels for the guest bathroom. The ones I picked didn’t quite match, but at least they were the same color – more or less.
That sense of fading presence bothers me the most. I tried to put things back in their right place in the kitchen, but there were things I couldn’t remember. I did find the special cleaner she used for the stovetop, though. And the drip that frustrated her if you didn’t turn off the kitchen faucet in just the right way is still there. But she wasn’t there. And she won’t be there. And her presence will continue to fade. Memory slips away like sand through your fingers – but her legacy of kindness will remain.