The light was on in the bedroom, and the bed was neatly made. Someone had left a paperback book God’s Promises, lying on the pillow next to mine, someone who didn’t know which pillow was mine and which had been Jim’s.
I placed it carefully on my pillow and sighed. Maybe it would help me if I read some of God’s promises right before I went to sleep. I didn’t know. I’d never been a widow before, and I had no idea what would help me. Nothing had helped me so far.
I walked to the closet and flipped on the light. My clothes looked bereft somehow, as if they were as depressed as I was about what had happened to us. I glanced down and saw Jim’s clothes neatly folded and packed in a box. They looked bereft, too.
I knelt and took his blue Cleveland Indians’ t-shirt off the top of the stack. I smelled it, and though it’d been washed clean when I’d hung it in his closet a few days ago, I imagined his scent still in its folds. I closed my eyes, and the memory of our day at the ballpark during our honeymoon, when he’d bought this shirt, came to me instantly.
I could see his dark hair and chocolate brown eyes…I could see his smile and the shy boyish look he threw my way as we watched “our” team play ball...I could see his hand, pencil gripped tightly, racing along the page of the ballgame program, trying to keep track of all the stats. He’d loved his stats.
I smiled as I folded the shirt gently and placed it on the floor beside the box. Next I handled the heather gray sweater I’d bought him on our first Christmas together.
I remembered how special that Christmas had been, not only because we’d just been married six months, but also because we’d discovered the week of Christmas that our son was on the way. What a miracle that had been to us! Since we were both in our mid thirties, the idea of a child had been a dream…a faint hope and then…the stick was blue!
I remembered the look on his face when he’d unwrapped this sweater. He was delighted to see the color was gray, and not “baby” blue, as I’d teased. He was always fighting my attempts to brighten his wardrobe. “I’m a geeky guy, Hon; I don’t wear colors.”
I chuckled as I laid the soft sweater on the t-shirt. The crisp white dress shirt I saw next brought back the memory of that day we took our baby son to Jim’s office to show him off for the first time. Everyone had been so glad for us and especially for Jim. They’d known him for years as a lonely bachelor, and they’d agreed; our son was a miracle child!
I came to the shirt with the logo on it of the new baseball field at Cleveland. Jim had laughed when he’d told me its nickname…the Jake. Later that summer, as we’d driven past it on our way to the Cleveland Clinic, Jim had been very frail. The cancer had taken its toll and he had strained to lift his head to get a glimpse…just a glimpse, of the field. His oncologist had promised him a good seat for the play-offs if he was well, but Jim didn’t get to go. He’d gone, instead, to Heaven by the time his favorite team played in the World Series.
I pressed the beloved shirt to my face and let it soak up the tears the memories brought. My heart was broken…I missed him so, but the laughter we’d shared was still vivid.
One day, he’ll run to greet me in Heaven, his brown eyes shining and his lips smiling…the evidence of mirth remembered lighting his face forever.
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