The man coming toward me on the street looked like Joe. I stood staring, my breath coming in little gasps. He was tall and thin. He even walked like Joe. He passed me at the corner. It certainly was not my husband. The tears came. What I wouldn’t give to see Joe walking toward me again!
Joe, I remember you:
Coming up the steps to the deck with an armload of firewood.
Bending over the saw in your workshop.
Sitting in your chair, hands held together, fingertips touching, thinking.
Pouring batter on the griddle and flipping the pancakes.
Driving the tractor through the woods on the trails you made.
Sitting on the deck at sunset, looking out over the valley.
Driving the car, seat back as far as it would go.
Reading the most recent news magazines in bed.
Pretending you were still asleep when it was time to get up.
Putting papers in the neatly organized files in your office.
Sitting across from me at the table, reaching for my hands to hold during grace.
Cutting the loaf of bread in our favorite restaurant.
Sitting next to me in church at the end of “our” pew.
Walking the streets of the cities we visited, map in hand.
Watching the squirrel raid the bird feeder, then trying to outsmart him one more time.
Marta Felber, author of Grief Expressed When a Mate Dies and Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, has held many counseling and consulting positions in the U.S. and abroad, including serving for 10 years as director and head counselor at a center for expatriates in Jakarta, Indonesia.
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