Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Seventeen Years Later…

with 21 comments

Folks, the last few weeks I have been very quiet. There was a reason for that.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably read about my late husband Michael. I’ve never stopped talking about him and his manifold talents. He was a writer, editor, contracts administrator, and overall Renaissance Man. He was my equal, my partner, my best friend, my co-writer, and so much more. By far, Michael was the most important person ever to be in my life, and by far, his loss seventeen years ago was the most devastating loss I’ve ever suffered.

Mind, I had been married before I met him. He, too, had been married before he met me. We both knew what we wanted when we finally found each other, and we both vowed to do everything we could to make our marriage work and to support each other to the limit our human bodies would allow…and maybe a bit more.

And we both lived up to those vows.

There’s no way I will ever be able to forget Michael’s life, but around this time I also am bombarded with images from Michael’s untimely death.

I remember the EMTs, and their idiocy. (One asked if I was Michael’s daughter, and I snapped, “No, I’m his wife. Now please get him into the ambulance already!”)

I remember the doctor at the hospital asking why I didn’t catch my husband as he fell from the first heart attack. (He was behind me, I told them, and he fell backward. I would’ve surely tried, though I’m sure I’d have dislocated both arms had I managed, if I’d been behind him.)

I see that. I can’t help but see that. And the only thing I know that will get me away from seeing that is to work as hard as I can and hope I’m too tired to worry about it, else.

That means over the past week I’ve finished two full-length edits.

So, when I’m working hard on the one hand, and am seeing all this other stuff due to the sad anniversary on the other, I don’t blog much.

I’ll try to blog more, though, now that I’ve officially gotten past the sad anniversary of my husband Michael’s death. I want to talk more about writing, more about editing, and because the world is what it is, probably other things I see or hear that drive me batty.

So, do keep dropping by, will you? And I’ll try to keep you all in the loop. (Promise.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 22, 2021 at 8:29 pm

21 Responses

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  1. That is a difficult memory. You aren’t at fault for anything.


    September 22, 2021 at 9:29 pm

  2. Take care.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    September 22, 2021 at 9:42 pm

  3. As ever, Barb, you exemplify courage and strength. I am sorry for your loss…seventeen years or a minute ago…the hole in our hearts and the empty chair at mealtime are the constant reminders. Blessings and comfort. May the edits go well.

    L R Davis

    September 22, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    • Thank you so much. 🙂 I appreciate that.

      Yes, the hole in our hearts plus the empty spots — I always want to see my husband by my car, for example (and I drove the last car he got to drive until it fell apart, then picked another car as much like that as I could find) — are hard to deal with.

      (There’s a reason I like Linkin Park’s song “One More Light” so much. And to think that was written before their lead singer Chester Bennington’s death, with Chester singing it…I get goosebumps, sometimes, hearing that gorgeous song. But as always, I digress.)

      My husband was a phenomenally good person. While it hurts to be without him, I’m glad I did get time with him. It certainly changed me, and for the better, to know him and for him to know me.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 23, 2021 at 6:37 am

  4. Ubfirtunateky Barb we are surrounded by idiocy and incompetance. Your husband was a lucky man to have you in his life, and him in yours….

    Jack Eason

    September 23, 2021 at 1:11 am

    • Thank you, Jack. That’s what we both felt, too.

      One of our friends summed it up this way not long after Michael passed. He said, “You felt you got the better end of the deal. He felt he got the better end of the deal, too. And you know what? You were both right.”

      I got a kick out of that. 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      September 23, 2021 at 6:35 am

  5. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Support Barb folks…

    Jack Eason

    September 23, 2021 at 1:13 am

  6. I am only widowed a year and it was my only marriage so we had forty three years, forty five all together, but I know it’s not the number that counts. He was sixty eight and fit till he got cancer. I remember saying to the family I would never have believed how much fun it was being over sixty and though we are all aware of cancer and other health things lurking in the background I assumed the fun would continue for a god few years.

    September 23, 2021 at 1:40 am

    • I understand what you mean.

      Yes, time spent does not necessarily equate to quality spent. It sounds like you both had quality and many years together, but when you lose your soulmate, it’s just hard.

      I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don’t. All I can say is that you aren’t alone, and that I think a true love relationship lasts forever (call me crazy, call me metaphysical if you like, but I find it very difficult to believe my husband’s soul isn’t still alive somewhere better than this. And that whenever my life ends, we will be reunited in joy and never part again.)

      Barb Caffrey

      September 23, 2021 at 6:34 am

      • Thanks Barb, I had some time to prepare and with all our family I knew I would cope and because mostly people do. My mother was a widow for a very long time. Life hasn’t been normal for most of us so it was quite helpful being in limbo.

        September 23, 2021 at 8:46 am

      • True. Right now, with Covid, nothing seems normal.

        I’m sure you can cope. But the question is — and this is what I didn’t understand for a long, long time after Michael’s passing — can you thrive? Can you enjoy the good memories, when you have them, or will they just make you upset that you can’t have any more of them?

        We’re human, so we can’t help but have both things show up at the same time. That’s what I didn’t understand. But I’ve learned to forgive myself for being human and to appreciate the good memories when I have them even if there is still a mixture of emotions.

        I’m glad you have family to support you and help you. If I can ever help in any way, though, just say the word and I’ll do whatever I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 24, 2021 at 2:45 am

  7. I think about things like your story when I’m frustrated with my own husband, and try to think what it would be like without him. All the silly things I would miss. Being in the moment becomes much more vital when you realize how much can be lost. Sending you cyber hugs.

    Kayelle Allen

    September 23, 2021 at 8:48 am

    • Thanks, Kayelle.

      We all have our moments where we need solitude, so don’t feel bad about that. And we all certainly have our moments where we are going to disagree about something, too…that’s because we’re human.

      But yes, a lot of what I miss are the little things. He was great at cooking — the only man I’ve known who truly enjoyed it — and only rarely let me cook for him, insisting that he should do it as it was his privilege and pleasure (his words) to make sure I ate well. (He was very into healthy eating, too, so that way he could make sure everything was done to his satisfaction. I didn’t mind at all.)

      The thing that makes me smile the most are times I go to the laundromat, and think about him refusing to let me load the washers and dryers. (I’d try, and he’d give me a mock-glare and say that was his job. Mine was to be decorative.) He knew my back was often bad, and he wanted to make sure I didn’t strain it, so when I had back issues he wouldn’t let me do anything that could possibly strain myself at all, including putting laundry in the washer or from there into the dryers.

      Truly, he was the only man I’ve ever met who cared about such things. But that’s why it was so worth it to be married to him…he understood me completely, and it showed with every action he ever performed.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 24, 2021 at 2:43 am

  8. Your moving post is both a tribute to you Michael. You keep his memory in the world fresh in a poignant and loving way, which makes him in a small way part of the lives of everyone visiting your blog. At the same time you have have your own active life which shows you are still celebrating the love you shared, for you are still positive.
    I wish you well Barb for the years ahead.


    September 24, 2021 at 2:52 am

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