Variations in the Seasons

This Story is part of Changing Seasons Series

This is a new story called “Variations in the Seasons” let’s begin…..The day was dark enough without the addition of the snowfall pelting the ground, blanketing the casket that now held my dear wife of some thirty-five years. I didn’t feel the cold however, I was already numb emotionally as I stood there.

Standing by my side were my two daughters, Glity and Gracy, along with my son Pete home on emergency leave from the service. Hard enough on them burying their mother during a near blinding snowstorm, each one of them berating themselves for not being there by her side when she passed.

But Stella hadn’t wanted it to be that way. Her last visit with the kids, well…our daughters anyway, had been six weeks prior to all this. We’d gone home, home where I called it anyway, where the kids lived, not where we did. What I didn’t know, and what Stella obviously did know, was that we were coming home for the last time. Time enough to say good-bye without saying it.

We had moved from Utah to Arizona almost six years ago. We did so for my wife’s asthma more than anything, though at the time we had no idea she would soon be fighting an even greater problem than that. She had breast cancer, which turned out to be a rather aggressive form of it on top of everything else.

At first, we kept it from the kids of course until such time as she began really radical treatments. We’d hoped with that, she’d be one of the lucky few and beat it. She wasn’t. None of us were prepared for the rapidity of her decline. It felt like it happened overnight. One day she was her bright smiling self, full of “vim and vinegar” as I so often put it. The next, she was a darkened shell of her former self, and soon after she was gone.

I’d held her in my arms there at the hospital as she lay dying, barely strong enough to speak, and when she did, she shocked me. Surprised me to say the least.

“Thomas, promise me something,” she stated.


“No, not until you promise me you’ll grant my last request, no matter what you think or feel about it after I tell you what it is.”

“Ok,” I said, fighting back the tears. “I promise.” Though at the moment, I’d have promised her anything regardless of what it was, just to see the light shine in her eyes again the way it had over the past three and a half decades that I’d spent with her.

I saw her smile, for a moment she was twenty-six again, the age we had gotten married and began our life together.

“Don’t live alone,” she said weakly. “I’m not telling you to get married again if you don’t want to. But…promise me Thomas, you won’t live alone pining away for me either. Find someone, someone to have fun with, do things with. At least that much,” she half begged me.

Of course I balked at her notion, the words forming even as I began to express them, but she held her fingers up to my lips effectively shushing me. “You promised,” she said, and with that, took her very last breath and passed from this life into the next. Even as the alarm on her monitor sounded, I continued to hold her, oblivious to the sound it was making. Her final words still ringing in my ears as I sat there.

“Don’t live alone…promise me.”


After everyone had left, friends and relatives I hadn’t seen in years, I continued to stand there as they lowered my wife’s casket into the cold hard ground. The kids were always standing by my side, finally pulling me away though my head stayed behind even though my body followed. I remember eating something later,

without tasting it. I remember hushed whispers outside my room as they quietly left, leaving me to sleep, though I remained wide awake for most of the night. All I wanted to do was follow after my wife, crazy thoughts whirling around inside my head, though each time I thought through some conclusion on how to accomplish all that, I saw the horrored looks in my children’s faces as they stood looking down at me as they lowered my casket into the ground. No, it wasn’t going to be quite that easy.

The best I could hope for was that old age would speed up the process a little and do its thing in a reasonably short time without any real help from me. Though subconsciously perhaps, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to do much of anything to prevent that from happening either. About the only thing I immediately decided to do was to sell the house in Phoenix and move back to Utah, find some sort of a nice, easy to maintain condominium or something, and then wait for the inevitable.

As much as I loved the kids, and they me. The last thing any of them wanted was for “grandpa” to end up moving in with them. Sunday dinners every other week was about as much as any of us really was willing to entertain as far as family gatherings go. After that, I was content to sit at home, watch TV, eat simply and wait for time and circumstance to catch up to me. My wife’s words all but forgotten as I soon settled into what became a very mundane way of life.


Variations in the Seasons will continue on the next page

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