Almost half a year has slipped away, now I’m waking up.
Many of you knew Edwin my husband. He died, suddenly, within three days. He had no pain and died at home. He was surrounded by his children and his grandchildren and it was on his birthday.
If you didn’t know him in person you probably knew him from his books.
During these last months, immersed in the dramatic shift in my life, I did very little thinking about myself and very little about Ed.
What I did think about was our relationship. I always imagined that our relationship was unique but now I suspect that many of us share the same journey in whatever relationships we are in.
They are probably just different.
Ed and I met when he was 16 and I was 15. We met near a beach in New York City. Our connection was that we both were in the same school in Brooklyn, New York.
He had friends and I had friends and we quickly became a group. At first music held us together but soon we all rented bikes and took long rides, we walked over the George Washington Bridge into the New Jersey hills. We went to anything interesting in the city that was free. Even went to Night Court to watch.
We never “dated” but there were three marriages from within the group.
Although the group is now shrinking, we still meet regularly and stay in close touch.
Ed and I were one of the weddings. Neither of us had good homes and both of us wanted to be out of our homes. It was 1947; we had no money and no idea other than to leave our homes. We were both still in school, both had part time jobs and we jumped into the unknown.
Once we rented our own place, we clearly saw how we were different. From that beginning we laid out our own paths.
Our major asset was that we didn’t put much energy into changing each other’s lives.
Our second major asset was that if I had an idea he would consider it and use it or not. If he had an idea I would consider it and use it or not.
The amazing thing for me is that we rarely talked things out and Ed did not want to be asked questions.
It feels like magic that our relationship continued so long. I never considered leaving him (I liked my life). I did ask him a question once. I asked him if he had ever considered divorcing me. He said sure, but not seriously.
I’m talking about a 64 year old marriage. In the last few years I got into calling it a Lack of Imagination.
Now I’ve become aware of how rich our imagination was.
We gave each other breathing space and gave each other very little grief.
My major annoyance is that Ed died before me. He clearly wanted to live to be 100, and I was counting on him to achieve it. I assumed that it was a pact between us.
On my side, since my mother died when I was five, I have had no wish to live long and yet I am already 84.
Since I am now alone, I can see clearly how Ed and I were actually on the same track. We both connected with people and took it on as our life’s work.
We just came at it differently.
We never worked closely together until we built the Center at Cape Cod. I was worried whether we could work that out and we did. Still amazes me.
Those of you who knew Ed know how much his work drove him. My sorrow is that he died feeling that he hadn’t done enough when in fact he had done so much.
I, on the other hand, am awed at how much I have accomplished in my lifetime and am secure in the belief that the work I have been doing will continue well past my life.
Ed did not have enough time to put his work into your hands. He was waiting until he was 100 to do it. I take it on me to tell you he would have liked to have done that himself.
I will hold your hands as long as I can and am already feeling how you hold mine.