Survival

Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye (Farewell My Love Goodbye)

He promised me he would ride during the daytime, he’d always wear his helmet and he’d remain on the state streets not far out of our suburban home.

And he was a man of his word that is the reason daylight began to recede, a promise-keeper and night started to fall, rsquo & a certainty that something wasn.

There was nothing to do but wait-it-out. I wasn’t about to phone or text him. He was on a bike.

When it was officially dark outside, I turned another page of the book I was reading that relaxing Sunday afternoon and thought to myself, ‘we will have to have a serious talk about this bike thing. ’ In spite of the fact that he told me how great he felt when he was outside “carrying a twist,” it was starting to feel like a really bad idea to me.

Perhaps I could talk him into a boat or a jet ski, or maybe he could occupy golf.

I no sooner had this idea, when our son came to me and said, “Mother you need to come to the doorway. There’s. ”

A Couple of days after I was faced with the greatest challenge of my writing career–writing and delivering the eulogy of my Very Best friend, the father of my five kids and the truest man I’ve ever known…

…You know how sometimes you’ll meet a person and think to yourself or even tell everyone about you, “Oh my gosh, he was the nicest man you could ever wish to meet! ” Well, that wasn’t my husband.

I’m not saying that he wasn’t fine, naturally, he was he was fine and got nicer with age, as men often do. I’m only saying that “niceness” wasn’t the most overriding quality he abandoned you with once you met him for the very first time. He wasn’t out there trying to bowl you over with his charm.

My husband was so far greater.

He was great.

Actually, In all my life I’ve never met a man who was, quite simply, much more great.

Because he wasn’t licking you up one side and down another, blinding you with his sparkle, it might be so simple for an obtuse or distracted person to forget or even miss completely the significant qualities that made him one of the finest men many of us will ever understand.

And that I… I had the privilege to be his wife and the mother of his kids, I worked to get him (though I’m convinced if he’s studying this right now he’s saying my job claim “is problematic! ”-RRB- and I retained his house and his bank accounts, respectively and his heart was retained by me. What this supplied me with all was a close-up, hidden camera that is behind-the-scenes perspective. A front row chair like no other, in the way this man conducted himself. I never in all the years saw rsquo & that man;s personality.

And trust me I saw hard.

As soon as I started dating him (we were 18) to utilize an antiquated word, I “set my cap for him” and I’ll just admit right here and now he was entirely out of my league. He was incredibly handsome, remarkably intelligent and owned a confident James Dean swagger that was both indefinable and irresistible. We had a group of friends who witnessed this love unfolding and forecasted “Uh-oh this ends badly for your woman. ” & “She’s bound to get hurt. ” & “She’s far out of her depth. ”

The bit they hadn’t reckoned on was that, curiously enough, this guy had a penchant for curly haired girls. On our very first date we parked out in front of the lakes around the campus of LSU and stared shoulder to shoulder straight forward in the water talking about life. He had such a reputation as a renegade with a guy exterior that I chose to dig deep, “Is ANYBODY loved by you? ” I asked.

He seemed taken aback–amazed and said, “I love my mother and my grandma. ”

Some tiny part of this 18-year-old woman was enchanted and enthralled from the raw glimpse of vulnerability and thought, “Ooooh… I believe I can work with this! ” There’s nothing that a teenaged girl loves more than a challenging outer shell with a gentle, sweet center.

Ask!

A couple of decades after, when we were wed, there was a bit of a snafu on the wedding day and the cousin that was supposed to transport my Groom’s beloved above grandma to our wedding dropped the ball. After the event was over and we were driving away in the reception, he drove to the end of the pull-through, put his head on the steering wheel and started to cry. I was, obviously, alerted as any bride coated in hopes and rice and dreams would be.

When I asked him what was wrong, he said, “I simply never thought I wouldn’t be with my grandma on my wedding day. Could we go to her? ”

But we can.

He at a white tux, me in a long dress and veil, looking like small bride and groom figurines snatched right off the surface of a wedding cake, then drove two hours across a dark Louisiana swamp called The Atchafalaya Basin to a small Cajun nursing home where the residents lined the halls cackling and fussing in their native French language–thus excited were they to find a bride and groom in full wedding regalia, surely not your everyday sight at a nursing home.

We turned the corner into rsquo & his grandma;s space. She was sitting there in her wheelchair, then clutching her rosary beads, head bent in prayer, when she appeared and burst into tears of surprise and shock at the site of her loved grandson as a groom. He knelt on the floor and put his head in her lap while she made the indication of the cross and said again and again, “My Jimmy, my Jimmy, you create marry dat woman? You make marry dat woman? ”

That spectacle is burned in both my mind and my heart. He knew that she sat at the wheelchair all day thinking that she was abandoned.

And the “Peace that surpasses all understanding” enveloped me fully and I knew right then and there that I had chosen well.

I stood there at that doorway and I thanked our God to the gift of this Great Man, that to the naked eye looked so much as a boy. And I thanked Our Heavenly Father for anything uncommon sliver of insight or wisdom in my part gave me such a daring confidence concerning pursue him. After the blessing, we turned around and drove the two hours back to Baton Rouge, packed our car with all our wedding gifts and abandoned for Little Rock that night–because my husband was at the restaurant industry and needed to work the following day.

There are countless more stories. Anecdotes that exemplify the character of this man, his distinctive leadership style, humorous tales about his unorthodox approach to developing people, both workers and his own offspring.

Early in our marriage, I took a Bible study where I was introduced to the concept of tithing. Apparently, God, unbeknownst to us newlyweds had issued a mandate, expecting us to give away 10 percent of their income! Who very evening each of the young wives were encouraged to share this with their husbands. I wasn’one bit worried. I knew we were “off the hook,” because my husband was a really frugal man who’d never agree to this outlandish request, even if it did come directly in The Lord.

However, I told him that evening and went ahead and enthusiastically he said, “you understand what–I’m! Absolutely! Set up an entirely separate bank accounts and we’ll call it ‘The Tithe Account. ’ Slice 10 percent off the top of everything I make from here on out and deposit it there and we will give it off! ”

But it was how he gave it was notable. Of course, the Church received from us, but Jimmy very quietly behind the scenes paid his employee’s physician bills he paid his cooks’ kids’s hospital bills, he paid their immigration penalties to return them with their families. He gave people cars so that they may get to work, made various orphans’ tuition obligations and helped other people get back on their feet following a private life disaster. But it was quite low-key. For me personally, Christian charity was silent, low key and private, which explains why you never saw us in fancy charity galas. But I must allow for the reality He only didn’t want to wear a tux…

Recently, I caught wind of the fact that a few of our youngest son’s friends were teasing him about how many kids we had in our family–stating surely he, being number 5, should have been an “accident. ” It was all in good fun. I think they simply found it difficult to believe in this day and age people would knowingly have 5 kids. I’m leading with this to try somehow, if possible, to exemplify this man

1 afternoon once we lived in Phoenix, he came to me and said, &ldquo. We’re missing somebody! ”

I looked in a sea of kids & rsquo throughout the playroom;s thoughts. Our tweenage 10 and daughters 13 and our daughter and 2-year-old son and said, “1-2-3-4! No HONEY, everybody is present and accounted for! ”

He said, “That’s not exactly what I mean! I’m referring to when I look over my shoulder because I’m backing our van from the driveway for mass and I see all those little faces looking back, a very strong feeling comes over me that there’s somebody else that’s supposed to be back there, somebody who isn’t yet. I believe God has a tiny soul that he’s wanting to give us …. I&rsquo isn’t yet complete. ”

I don’t know another woman walks out from a dialogue like this, but suffice it to say I was pregnant after. I didn’t find it essential to bring a pregnancy test right away–I kept putting off him . But on Thanksgiving Day I guess that he couldn’t wait another minute. He busted into the bedroom that afternoon said and using a brown bag out of Walgreens, handed me the stick — pointed to the restroom, “Move! ” I came back and handed him the outcome. He was beside himself with joy, since I guess that he wanted to give Thanks on Thanksgiving day.

Some of you may see this as an instance of how much we adore our youngest. And we do. He is cherished. But remember at this point we didn&rsquo. This story is actually a testimony of the unfathomable joy that the other 4 kids brought their Dad every single minute of every single day. The man didn’t golfing, play tennis, hunt, fish or go to Vegas. He was daddying, if he wasn & rsquo; t functioning. The word Daddy was a verb in our house.

I believe I want to complete all this by describing to you the past days of my husband’s life.

Three days before he was murdered, last Thursday I was at our daughter’s babysitting our grandson when he awakened on his way. I let him, he took the infant and sat down cooing and yanking and loving on him. I sat on the couch beside them grinning and ripping up and thinking ironically that the greatest tragedy of my life was that my mom (who worshipped the very ground my husband trod upon) died the day following Our first grandchild was born and would never be relegated to the beautiful scene I was witnessing. This fantastic big man in a bike jacket rocking the smallest small replica of himself.

(And Yes, for the ones that appreciate irony, I was actually sitting there thinking a week past that was the Greatest Tragedy Of My Life.)

At that instant he snuggled closer to the infant, deeply inhaled his scent, looked at me, I’m not going to state he exactly cried, but his eyes glazed over a little and that he hoarsely whispered, “We got to do this 5 times! 5 times. Man–We were lucky! ”

A lot of you understand my mother died. I believe Jimmy and I thought I’d be doing better by now and a bit further along from the grief process, however, the day then, last Friday, my grief was so palpable to him that it seemed to be affecting my health. He sat on the edge of the bed, wiping the tears off my cheeks and said,

“rsquo & I;will take off and we are going to remain in our jammie-lammies all day long. I understand now we’ve got the baby, therefore that I’ll cart his swing and a stack of bottles and diapers up to the media space and we can binge-watch our Netflix series until his Mama picks up him! ”

And that’s just exactly what we did. He got a dinner and hurried up to Panda Express when our daughter arrived to pick up her infant. We stood at the kitchen and he asked me if I was feeling better. I replied

“A small bit. I feel so lost, orphaned, abandoned without my mom. Until that I met you she was my all. In Reality, I shudder to think how terrible life would be for me if I ever were to lose rdquo & hellip; & you;

My guy paused dramatically to give it all these and some idea are the poignant words of wisdom and comfort He laid upon my soul:

He said-

“Hey, I hear that! You know I was reading recently that in oftentimes when a warrior died, these Viking cultures, they murdered his wife in the cave with him. I don’t understand what those chics did there all that time, but I’d imagine they starved to death eventually! ”

I was pensive and silent . Sensing

“We would certainly get you some Swedish fish and Milk Duds and Coca-Cola in there to tie you for awhile…”

I don & rsquo, although he had a unique sense of humor;t believe he ever wanted to confront life OR death. We were among these couples joined at the hip.

In the early days of the marriage when he worked 90 hours a week, I took care of every aspect of his life that rsquo & didn;t entail the functioning of a restaurant. I picked his outfit for the day, coordinated his necktie, laid out his panties, brought him his coffee and ran a bead of toothpaste in a straight line down the bristles of his toothbrush while he was at the shower.

But somewhere along the line, I don’t understand, maybe after the 5 kids or all the tables turned, after he mellowed a little.

Somewhere along the lining, his poor guy became solely responsible for:

-Turning on our tv …. I don’t have any understanding how our remote control works.
-Keeping track of all the prescriptions, exactly what I’m allergic to, how many migraine pills I had taken and when I could choose yet another.
-He kept gas in my car, air in my tires and also something that has to do with petroleum.
-Nearly every night he brought me home a key lime pie, or a piece of chocolate cake, unless I was on a strict diet in which case he only brought a container of sour balls.
-He brought my bath in the morning when he made my coffee, but before he woke me up.
-And kept me provided in these cheater-reader eyeglasses. He was so proud that he never paid to them. He got them and found in the restaurants.

The night before he was murdered I said, & ldquo; I & rsquo; m congested, I can & rsquo, Saturday night. ” if I leave He said, & ldquo. ”

After he got home that he unpackaged the bottle of Afrin, but the chief thing is that he stood there handing me the spray and worrying aloud that maybe he should throw away the ‘childproof cap’ since he didn’t believe I’d ever be able to make it open the following week when he was away on business in Kansas City.

I assured him it was nice–don’t worry about it. As usual, He was appropriate. As soon as I was told by them exactly what had happened to my Hero, I sobbed and cried until I couldn & rsquo. Needless to say, I instantly got congested. And when I reached from the night before I couldn’t get the lid off.

I guess the good news is that many have offered to help me, I may begin a sign-up sheet for people that wish to volunteer to do some of those things.

I recognize a lot of you younger folks out there that I know appeared to my husbandve [sic] figure. You may not believe I understand about each and every one of you because of his public persona that is reserved, but believe me, he’d come home and tell me and tell me and tell me. I understand he was your mentor and your role model. Believe me when I tell you how much joy he brought him witnessed you moving along your up trajectories through our company or on to other successes. So many of you were constantly checking in with him afterwards in your own progress. Astoundingly, a few of you have written to tell me he actually turned your life around!

Each of you mattered to him more than you’ll understand. Being portion of your lives meant the world .

And to his mommy, “Mimi,” I want you to understand that occasionally he’d look over at something that I said or did or only the way that I handled a situation and state, “I wed my mom! ” However it was always and once I had behaved in a manner that he found beautiful. He told me you were ldquo & a; Saint & rdquo; and the woman on the face of the planet. I’m so sorry for your pain in losing him. I hope it gives you some degree of comfort to know he loved and cherished all you did for him his whole life.

To our five kids, I’d say this: if Daddy had any flaws it could have been that he cared for us well… However, what a legacy he left behind in y’all. Each of you is nice and amazing and smart. However, like your daddy, you’re much more than nice. You are good. Partly because you inherited it partially because you grew up in his darkness because he demonstrated everything he considered for a teachable moment.

And didn’t he simply think about everything for a teachable moment?

So we marshall this army forward and will link arms. But we were left by him with one heck of a blueprint. And if we don & rsquo; t understand how to put air in the tires, Who cares, you know everything? We can only buy new tires if we can & rsquo; t in, I believe they sell new ones that come with atmosphere. And if we don’t understand how to replicate Dad’s extravagant Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, we can only order pizzas.

Because I believe what Daddy did leave us is much more significant. Buried deep in your DNA and life experience is a combination of a powerful Cajun survival streak, resiliency and strength that can never be denied.

1 last idea–my honey and I loved to sing to one another. We loved the Motown Sound and Classic Rock. Among our favorite musicians throughout the years was Gladys Knight. Besides the song that we played at the movie, (My Life Story) she sings another tune we both loved. The problem is each time he’d serenade me with this particular tune, I’d burst into tears. Cue the floodworks of sobs and tears. Every. single. time.

So much so that I had no option but to issue a Song Ban prohibiting him from singing it. Which frankly he thought was a modest humorous. He’d get all high and mighty and state “t BAN & rsquo; Tiny Red — you can a tune! ”

But since it upset me so much that he eventually promised me he’d never sing it.

And that I&rsquosing hellip & it ;. ”Due One Of Us Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye”

Farewell hellip & good-bye;

Editor’s note: The crash remains under investigation but appears to be negligent homicide on the part of the older driver of the SUV. Please join us in praying for Leslie and the Blanchard family.  

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