Hal was my rock and my lover as well as my best friend. I couldn't imagine life without him and though our marriage was not ideal, he loved me and we loved being together. At first we were that couple never keeping our hands off each other. Later he spent his time trying to make my life and our children's lives what he wanted them to be. He worked nonstop and he was so generous to me and them. He almost never missed an event that involved his children or me. When his heart stopped, ending his life, I felt like mine had stopped too.
We met when I was a freshman in college and a teen and didn't see each other again until I was going into my senior year. I hated him when we met and then he called me during Christmas vacation of my freshman year. We went out three times but not New Year's Eve. My cousin fixed me up with a boy from Harvard and I couldn't refuse. Hal was in the Army and he started writing to me for three years. During that time I always had a feeling we would be together.
When he was discharged he called me and came over to visit. At first it was awkward and I was very nervous. But after a magical kiss I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with him and I never wanted to leave his side. He had an interview at SUNY Cortland, my college, and he told me he looked at my picture the whole bus ride up there. We went to school together for half a year. He had to leave due to finances, but he traveled back upstate as much as he could. He proposed to me on the horse path in Central Park, giving me his grandmother's antique pearl ring. We got married the summer after I graduated.
I was a girl who had always lived in the city, Brooklyn and Queens, but we lived in Cortland, New York for two years while he finished up with college. I was a teacher in Cincinnatus, a tiny town near Cortland with a one building school system. All grades were in this two story building. I taught sixth grade and looked very much like a high school student. In fact, I was once stopped on the second floor where the middle and high school were for being out of class without a pass.
Hal could charm almost anyone young or old. His colleagues and even the judges respected him as a lawyer. He loved music, film and history and when they were combined he was thrilled. We loved to travel and before we had children we went to Europe and India.
After living with him for 48 years, having two children, moving 10 times and going through his steadily more serious illnesses including heart attack and triple bypass surgery, hypercalcemia caused by sarcoidosis of the kidney, complications from diabetes including loss of two toes and pneumonia which eventually killed him, I was a wreck. It had been years of caring for him and four months of worry for me. His heart just stopped beating.
He went peacefully, but I started crying when it happened and didn't stop until after midnight of that day. I was rushed to the hospital from being dehydrated and realized I couldn't continue that way. Losing my husband was like losing a piece of myself. I had a hole inside of me. Living without him had never crossed my mind. He had always been there for me from the time we kissed until the night before he left this earth when he hugged me and told me he loved me. How could I live without him as the song goes?
But it has been over a year and though I still mourn his loss and miss him so much, I have learned to overcome that sadness. He always said he didn't want me to be sad about his going. So I keep that in mind and each day I have gotten better. Part of the reason too is my writing. I write poetry and many of the poems I have written are about my missing him. Recently several people have told me I should get together all of the poems I have written about him since he passed and make them into a book. I am doing that and feel good that I can memorialize him with my words.
I am an author with two published young adult novels, but I think this book would be my finest achievement, and I have a feeling Hal will be smiling from wherever he is at my recovery.