Never Saying Goodbye

My lifetime’s sweetheart, Lowell Masato Uda, died at about 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Some part of me must have known, even before his illness manifested to us, that he would go before me, because every time I’d think of my death it felt easy to contemplate, but when it came to Lowell, my mind would slam shut with all the force and noise of a jail door. It was a place my mind would not go, even near the end as we sat for hours in his hospital room watching him grow daily weaker.

We were married on Ground Hog Day more than fifty years ago. “How young we were,” he’d say, marveling that no matter what happened to us or between us, we still wanted more than anything to be together.

I am who I am because he is part of me, the best part, I often think. He said the same of me. We maintained our independence, our separate identities, and yet we shared an identity too. We used to talk about Swedenborg’s theory that a married couple has one angel, and we joked about how our one angel was faring at that particular time–sometimes well, sometimes not so much.

During the 80s we had a fairly snarky period, and we agreed that when we were angry with each other we would not talk but would scratch our sides and make our best imitation of ape noises. Do you know how difficult it is to say angry about anything when you and your partner are making ape noises? It’s the best marital therapy we ever had. We would end up rolling on the couch laughing, and suddenly what had seemed like such a big deal was no more than two apes fighting over a coconut.

To say I miss him does not begin to cover it. Sometimes I feel unable to breath, as if I’ve forgotten how, and I have to make myself remember.

Lowell was only about 5’8″ when he was young, a little shorter as he got older, but to me he was a giant of a man, a giant of a human being, with a smile so brilliant the sun rose in it, a laughter that went straight to my heart, a patience and endurance that were constant models for me and lots of others–and I could go on but I am flooding my keyboard with tears that are like a weeping ocean. Every moment we had together was and remains a blessing, a kiss of miracle.

My wish is that every loving relationship in everyone’s life finds what we found in each other and even more. So be it.