Sixty-one years ago my Mother and I ride the Santa Fe Chief to Chicago to shop for my trousseau. It is August before my marriage to Rodney Eugene Wilson. Our wedding takes place October 26, 1952.
Today, June 5, 2013 it has been two years since his death. Time is so strange. August, 1952 seems forever ago. It was a different century, but I can’t let my thoughts go up that path.
Yet memories of evening walks in Grant Park enjoying the flowers, Buckingham Fountain and the breeze off Lake Michigan seem like yesterday. Rodney’s job with the Santa Fe Railroad as secretary for the Superintendent of Transportation is in the Railway Exchange Building on Michigan Avenue. My objective for the trip is to spend as much time with him as possible. My Mother thinks the objective is to succeed in our shopping.
An evening at the Chez Paree Night Club provides magical memories. I have no memory of any program or music…must have been some. Mother could afford that treat. We never returned there during the many years we lived in Chicago…but we kept that evening as a special moment in time.
I have no idea how many days we stayed in Chicago…or what hotel Mother and I enjoyed. Rodney would remember all the details. Everyone in our family knows that most of our memories disappeared when he died. For some reason, his mind stored the minutest details of what, when, how and probably why. Maybe he was just smarter than the rest of us…or paid more attention to what was going on.
Now, some days go by in a swirl, other times they drag along. Evenings are the hardest. Even when one of us was traveling, I always knew that there would be time to share our experiences.
Now that he is gone, so much has changed. I knew my identity. I was Mrs. Rodney Wilson, happily married, member of a team. That identity is gone.
Without my life-long partner I am shaping a new identity and a new name; I am now Priscilla H Wilson, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and I live alone. I am living proof that you can continue to live without your soul-mate, best friend, husband.
From today’s reading in Healing After Loss: “It is a bittersweet joy, but real nonetheless—the way our lost loves are forever in our hearts and minds. We can summon the memories of them at will. They seem almost as integral to our being as our skin. It is not what we would have chosen. But it is its own blessing.”