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The day after Christmas it will be two years since James died, and I’m still surprised he’s gone. There are days when it feels as though maybe he’s clearing brush in the canyon, buying food for the deer, or he's just left a board meeting and will be home in a little while. I still think about the day he died, and what it must have been like for him. I wonder if he knew what was happening; if the dizziness he’d been experiencing gently transitioned him to the other side? I wonder if he hears me when I talk to him; when I tell him how much I love him and how blessed I was to have him in my life?
I miss everything about James: the way he was quick to laugh; how he could read the clouds and forecast the weather and his passion for the land. Not just the land where we lived, but the curve of a neighbor’s tree and how it would be healthier and look better if it were trimmed, and how he’d love to be the one to trim it. I remember every detail of the first drive we took; how he pointed out plants like flaming sumac and doveweed; how perfectly and effortlessly he skipped flat stones across a river and how he pulled me toward him, but stopped just shy of kissing me, and oh, how I wanted him to kiss me. I miss the countless times he stood behind me under the night sky, his left arm wrapped around me, his right hand free to point out the North Star and the constellations. I miss how every day, without fail, he would tell me how much he loved me; how much he valued and appreciated me.
God has put me in another state of grace, if you will, so that I’m not in as much pain as I was, but my heart will always ache for James. He’s my compass, my true north. I’m aware on many levels that he’s still with me, and I know I will see him, again. Since that first date, James has held the key to my heart, and he’s taken it with him. I still feel married and can’t imagine that will ever change, but I’m not ruling out the possibility there’s someone else out there... I can’t even finish that sentence, because I don’t know the words. What’s more, I may never be able to finish that sentence, and that’s ok. I do, however, have a yearning to try something new. The old Ramborella in me is alive and well, and she’s seeking something challenging.
Remember the talk show I told you about? Well, it’s morphed into something far bigger; something that will use everything I’ve learned from all of my experiences and all of my teachers, which includes each one of you, dear friends. And if I’m to be honest, which you know I’m painfully transparent, I can’t write about cancer anymore. While I will still be a breast cancer and womens’ health advocate, and keep up with each of you who’ve touched my heart, I’m now interested in all aspects of women and their lives.
I want to know what defines us and makes us grow; the difference between our needs and wants and how we see ourselves in the context of not just our towns and cities, but the world as a whole. I’m interested in women as role models, and how we’ve survived what life has put in our paths. I’m interested in whether we feel pressured to stay young, and if so, do we simply buy something trendy, or is our little voice whispering words like “facelift” and "laser peels?"
At this stage of my life, I know what to expect if I keep on working at what I’ve been doing, and while I could be content with living in the middle of nowhere with my dogs, I must admit, what I have in mind is tantalizing. I didn’t just lose James that day. I lost my entire family and everything I held dear. I lost my way of life. What I have in mind, I couldn’t do if James were here, but his love for me will go where ever I go.
So for now, dear friends, I say goodbye, but you’ll be hearing from me, again. I dearly hope to hear from you as well. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Above all, please know how much you’ve brought into my life. Words cannot express my gratitude for all the things I've learned from you and the love and support you've given me. I love you dearly.
Stay strong; believe in God; lift one another up; be open to miracles and possibilities and know in your heart that you can do anything!
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