As I sat in LAX on July 9th I thought about how I finally had a few adventures to share on my blog. I had tales of being an extra on a set in LA – I would talk about the glamor of sitting outside in a tent for three straight days with 200 other people. Tales of brown bag lunches with mayo packets that shot out this clear yellow stuff. Share stories of crazed super fans name dropping their stalker-y hearts out while making me feel shame for possibly being a fan-girl poser. I was also really looking forward to coming home. I’d called my husband the afternoon before my flight whimpering that I was exhausted, and just wanted to come home. You see, I adore my husband and being away from him for five days was a bit much. I was looking forward to sharing my adventures with him, and showing him my ridiculous pictures – “look, Myrna Loy’s footprint!”.
Instead of Jay picking me up at the airport as planned, I got a ride with our local police department who took me to my home which was now covered in police tape. Officers stood on my driveway while a victims services team waited for me. I cannot possibly describe in adequate words just absolutely how horrific that was. I had lost my husband, my best friend, and my favorite person.
I wish I could describe him in a way that everyone would understand just how amazing he was, but again words fail me – they’re strings of adjectives trailing after him, flitting to and fro unable to paint a complete picture. He was my world.
What I can tell you is he was beautiful, smart, kind, funny, and clever.
I remember sitting with him on a curb outside of his office talking about how bad my world had become. He told me to throw out all of the extraneous things and boil down what was really bothering me – that once I got rid of all the fluff, I could begin to focus on the real issue. That conversation led me to the realization that I needed to make some huge life changes, and one of those was to be with him. That was nearly 17 years ago, and it is still the best decision I’ve ever made.
We never argued – no raised voices, no knockdown drag out fights. We’re both pretty easy going, Jay more so than me – both laid back sorts, which isn’t to say we were never disappointed or frustrated, but where I’d work out my issues by launching into super house cleaning mode, Jay would become more quiet, and at the end of the day we’d work whatever we were frustrated about out.
Every night Jay would tuck me in, and wait for me to fall asleep. I can’t begin to tell you how hard sleeping has become after 17 years of having someone sit with you, and talk to you every night. The house is suddenly too quiet. As a night owl, he’d almost always be awake if I woke up late at night, and he’d answer the most ridiculous questions I’d have that had suddenly perplexed me keeping me from sleep – usually basic physics questions about how the universe worked (I’m more a biology/physiology/anatomy kind of girl).
Every day, several times a day, he’d tell me he loved me and we’d thank each other, “thank you for being with me.” That’s not an exaggeration. It was important to me (I think I can say “us” here) that we always let each other know how much we cared – how lucky we felt to have found on another. I was looking at a card on my desk at work yesterday – one that had once accompanied a bunch of flowers on our anniversary which simply read, “I love you! Thank you for being with me!” I still have an email from Jay in my inbox which has this animated, ridiculous looking red blob that blows heart kisses. Suddenly, it’s the most important email I have.
I loved being with Jay and always knowing I had made the right choice all those years ago.
Now I’m adrift left without the one person who could tolerate my craziness, laugh at my jokes, calm me down – the one that made me feel loveable – that made me ok in this world when I’d tell him how lonely I sometimes feel. The person I could go to on a bad day, and he’d listen patiently. The person I could go to on a good day, and I could make him laugh. The one who was just as nerdy as me. The one who was a thousand times smarter and would patiently and thoughtfully explain things.
I never expected nor wanted to write his eulogy.
During this hard time, there have been a lot of people who have helped out. I want to offer my gratitude to Restoration Covenant Church who donated their beautiful space for Jay’s memorial service – to Jay’s Aunt Marsha for driving from Georgia to deliver a beautiful service – to all of my relatives who, despite their personal grief, came out to help and support me, thank you for sitting with me for hours and sharing your love for Jay and your stories about him – to my brother-in-law Dale who I cannot begin to thank enough for everything (you’re my favorite and best babysitter/handyman – also, thank you for standing up and telling a story about him at the memorial) – to Aunt Philis and Kim for finding the space for the memorial and making it so beautiful – to all of my friends for your words of support, your wee hour visits, your personal sacrifices to make sure I’m ok, and all of that food (good grief) – to Officer O’Neil for skillfully keeping me calm in a bad situation – and of course to the good neighbors. I’m lucky to have all of you in my life; you’re all amazing, and I love each and every one of you.
Of course, a few people have said some inappropriate things, too – things that made my stomach flip, so a thank you to all of the relatives and friends who offered to help hide their bodies. You are truly the best.
One day I may tell all of my goofy LA stories, but for now I’m missing my favorite person, and not having him around breaks my heart. I will miss him for a long time to come. Boy, thank you for being with me. I love you!
A poem read at the service:
Gone From My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
— Henry Van Dyke