I woke up this morning, sat on the edge of the bed, and looked at the floor. Atop a jumble of CD cases sat a little wine-coloured pillow, with “Love” inscribed on it. I looked at the wall, where twin paintings of a forest scene hung above me. I cried a bit. “Jody, are you here?” “In the trees, always watching over you.” I cried a bit more.
On Wednesday afternoon, I went for a walk around the block, something I haven’t done in months. I realize now that for the year that I’ve cared for my lovely wife Jodiette, I’ve never left our home without the thought “Get this done fast. You have to get back to Jody.” And now I can amble.
Before Jody died, I asked her to send me a sign that she was all right. As I walked along Bostwick Road, I saw a huge deciduous tree approaching me. I have long admired this gracious creation. Its branches fall so beautifully in a gesture of grace.
As we neared each other, I looked up, way up. It was Jody. “I will shelter you, Bruce. I will protect you.” “Are you happy, Jodiette?” “Yes. Can’t you see me waving to you?” The tops of the high bare branches were blowing in the wind. Thank you, my love.
I decided to go for a bike ride yesterday despite the temperature hovering around zero. A bit of a wind too. I thought I was so smart, bundling up in multiple layers, ear warmers, gloves and wool socks. But gosh I froze, as I did my time trial route for perhaps the last time in 2014.
And I started crying. I’ve never done that on ta-pocketa. (That’s the name of my bicycle.) And I couldn’t stop. “Jody, my wife! I miss you so much!” Over and over again.
At one point, I could feel my fingers heading toward numb, and I was dead tired. I had about eight kilometres to go and the sun would set soon. “Jodiette, please help me get home.” “I’m right here, husband. I have your back.” And she pushed me oh so gently. Earlier I had thought I’d have to get off my bike and walk the rest of the way, but that idea now drifted away. And I floated down Fruit Ridge Line. Very, very slowly. At Fairview Road, I stopped for traffic, and I couldn’t feel my hands. I was crying. A woman in a car pulled up beside me and asked if I was all right. Her name is Laurie. She had seen me many times on Fruit Ridge and wanted to say hi. She offered me water. She reached out her hand and shook my frozen claw. I told her that my sweet wife Jodiette died yesterday. We mourned together.
Soon I was home. I stood in the kitchen, glasses all fogged up, and I tried to undo the clasp on my cycling helmet. Couldn’t do it. And so I stood, waiting for warmth. Maybe it’s the same now that Jody has died. I need to wait for what emerges. Lots more crying, I’m sure. Whatever comes my way, and whatever bubbles up inside, to let it be there.
Did I mention how deeply I love my darling wife?