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Colors and memories


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Today was a strange day for me. This time of year is just so hard when I am overwhelmed with the bad memories from 3 years ago. The last weeks of Johnny's life here on Earth.

This morning the rain had ended and the sky was that beautiful deep shade of blue that I have never seen anywhere except on the West Coast. As I was driving to work all around me were the beautiful fall leaves mixed in among the evergreens. I was remembering that fall with Johnny. Everyday we would go for a ride and I was just spellbound by the beautiful fall leaves. Living in Louisiana for so long I had not seen fall leaves for years.

When we went on those rides Johnny would laugh and tell me what pleasure he got in seeing how much I enjoyed those colors. One day he told me that he had lived in Washington for 40 years and never appreciated the fall colors until he started seeing them through my eyes. This morning as I saw those colors mixed among the evergreens that he loved so much all I could think of was that he should be with me to share what I was seeing. I asked him for a sign to let me know that he was with me. I wanted one of our songs to play on the radio or the smell of coffee to surround me but nothing happened. I was heartsick with disappointment.

This afternoon as I was going from one job to another I saw another beautiful sight. For the past few months Mt. Shasta has been almost totaly free of snow but this storm brought snow to the mountains and there it was in all of it's glory. Suddenly in my mind a was transported back to another day. Another aniversary that will be tomorrow. In my pain from the bad memories I had forgotten that aniversary was tomorrow.

Johnny and I had been talking on the phone for several months by then but we had not seen eachother in over 41 years. I awoke that morning on the train headed to see him for the first time. As the morning awoke the first thing I saw with first light were the colored leaves. We were along side a river and all of the beautiful leaves were like a painting and my spirits lifted. I was just so nervous. I had no idea what to expect when we were finally together after so long.

When I got off of the train and saw him for the first time in so many years I had no problem recognizing him. Other than his hair turning to silver and putting on about 50 pounds he looked the same. Then there was his walk. If I hadn't recognized him I could never have missed the way he walked.

There are no words that can discribe what it was like being in his arms again and seeing that light in his eyes. All of the years just fell away and any fear or doubt that either of us had was gone.

Seven months later I joined him to start our life together. Two days later he was in the hospital and within a week diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite his illness and all that we went though those were the happiest days of our lives. We had just 5 months together but every moment of those months were precous and filled with love. When I think how close we came to missing that time together it frightens me. I can not imagine us not having that special time. Every day was a special gift to us. A gift that no one or nothing can ever take away from us.

It has been nearly three years sense his death and I have lived in my own private hell for much of that time. All of the pain and frustration and all the strugles that I have had can never deminish the time that we had together. Our love for eachother still endures to this day. I know now that seeing that mountain with the snow on it again was my sign from Johnny. He knew just what I needed at that time. Once again he reached out to me to share those beautiful memories that not time nor death can take away from us. I know now that even when I don't get the special signs that I look for and when I don't always feel him as close as I want to that he is still with me. He is in the leaves of fall and the flowers of spring. He is in each special song that reminds me of him. He is in the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and above all his is in my heart and those precious memories.

Everyday I ache for him still. Some days are still so bad that I don't want to get up and go out to do what I know I have to do to survive. I don't want to keep trying to make a difference in a world that at times feels so hostile to me. Yet I go on because somewhere I know he is there to give me the strength and courage to face each day. So I life my cup of coffee and make a toast to the fall leaves and the blue sky and the evergreens that Johnny loved so much. Here's to you Johnny may all of your days be filled with color and laughter and love.

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Lil...my heart and thoughts are with you right now. These anniversaries can be so very hard to deal with. I am glad that you are having some very good memories of the time you and Johnny spent together. You know, we don't really need "signs" anymore to let us know that our guys are watching over us. There's just a constant feeling in our hearts that let us know they're always right here with us. I'm so glad such beautiful sights and colors are able to trigger such beautiful memories of love for you!

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Thank you Joyce and Ann

I forgot to mention that when I woke that morning on the train we were right along side of Mt. Shasta. Maybe that is why those memories were so strong yesterday.

Johnny never complained about anything I did but he was always telling me that I needed to slow down and learn to enjoy the simple things in life. I was learning from him but things just got so far out of hand so quickly. There are few colored leaves or evergreens here where I live sense the fire last year. It is only when I am rushing to work and between jobs that I see them.

Sometimes I wish I could just park somewhere and get lost in their colors for awhile. One of my biggest regrets is that I never learned that in time to enjoy more with Johnny. I spent so much time doing for him that I didn't spend enough time just being with him. If only I could go back :?:

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