Days go by

Days turn into years, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

1 April 1999. April Fools day, a perfect choice for a wedding date for two people who were each married twice before. If, as Oscar Wilde had said, “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence, second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience,” what are third marriages?

For Emma and I it was the triumph of passion over ego. There was not much we did not feel strongly about, for the most part we fell on the same sides of issues. There were a few things in which we found we held diametrically opposed viewpoints, but today, eighteen years and one brain injury later, I cannot recall anything to which we did not eventually find a peaceful resolution.

Our passions were intense. I recall meeting some friends at the winery a week before Emma and I met. I was in an unusually peaceful state, and Suzanne (there were five “Sues” at the winery, each addressed with a unique variant of the name) said “Blake must be with a new woman.” I smiled and shook my head “no.” I had no women in my life and was enjoying the freedom. I had just turned forty, and after a series of passionless relationships was happy to have nothing to complain about. She knew what I was looking for, Suzanne and I had talked about it so often she would drop into an imitation of John Lovitz as “Master Thespian” when she said “Passion!” The next week I took Emma on our first date, a Nouveau party at the winery. Suzanne saw us, and silently mouthed the word and thrust forth her hand. It was obvious from the moment Emma and I met.

Four months and two weeks later we married, another eleven years, three months and four days later I was holding Emma as she said “I can’t fight anymore” and stopped breathing. There was little I could do during those years other than to love her.

I truly did not believe I could continue without her. Depending on my state of cynicism I often believe I should not have tried. It has been six years and eight months since then; I remarried, divorced, and had a few relationships. My current girlfriend is similar to Emma in many ways, and radically different in many others. The passion is there. The ego is different, second generation American from Ukraine as opposed to Emma’s first generation American from Sicily, but they are both fierce.

This week, concluding with what would have been our eighteenth anniversary, I will be rebuilding Emma’s “shrine,” a glass case I prepared for her urn just after her death, which has been in a closet for the last six years. The spare bedroom at my new place will house both her shrine and her cat, Autumn. I was worried about keeping a cat in a “no pets” building, but there are provisions in the Fair Housing Act for therapy and support animals, and my doctors provided the required documentation. Autumn is all I have left of Emma, I suspect I will handle losing her much as I handled losing Emma.

As my memory has come into question, some memories seem stronger than ever. Weeks like this intensify Emma’s presence in my mind, although she is seldom distant from my heart. I picture her in her vision of heaven, with her mother and her first husband who she never stopped loving. My life has taken some strange turns of late, perhaps “stranger” would be more accurate; my life was never normal. I struggle to write, and recall that I started writing for the public for Emma. In the last year I have needed to redefine almost everything, Emma and Autumn have been my constants, my F if you will. After my injury Emma was heavily on my mind while little else was, as I prepare for cranial surgery reminders of her hospital experience surround me.

I don’t speak much now. Partially due to the effects of the SCD, partially due to my need to understand what everything, including my own thoughts, mean. Emma comes to me in the silence, and guides me towards light.



Autumn, Therapy Cat





4 comments on “Days go by

  1. Mari Collier says:

    Hugs. I, too have lost my one passion. Words are rather meaningless in those situations. There is no other man and there will not be another as other men do not even smell right. That may sound silly, but in reality it is not. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    It seems that we never really get over the losses and tragedies in our life, despite what so many in the counseling and grieving professions tell us. The longer I live and the more tragedies and pain I go through, the more I have come to believe that we have to grow into the pain. It must become part of us and we must become one with it. Not some sort of pathologic obsession. Not stoicism. Just accepting the pain and suffering as part of who we are. Perhaps the original grief and sadness diminishes. But I don’t think we get over, or at least I’ve never gotten over anything. The scars remain. And if pressed hard enough or rubbed the wrong way, they still hurt.

    While I never met Emma in person, I vividly remember your posts at the time of her decline and death. Remember praying before and after. Following you through all these years, I’ve watched you climb steps and fall down them, sometimes literally. And I’ll admit to using your communications as a means of better understanding my own suffering. I can no longer say, “Why me, Lord?”, as though I was unfairly singled out for unexpected suffering, repeated over and over again. So am I grateful to you for having the desire and ability to document your journey.

    Through all of my suffering, I can say that it has produced good. Not that it was good or right. But only that God has used it as he has promised, to chip away at the parts of me that don’t resemble Jesus Christ. Not that I see myself looking much like him at this point. As far as I can tell I’m still a rough-hewn slab of granite. But I’ve come to see that he isn’t going to stop until he’s pleased. And he won’t be pleased until I’m in his presence. The next step is learning to truly believe that his grace is made perfect in my weakness.

    Praying for you, dear friend, as you deal with your anniversary and prepare for the surgery. Godspeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kblakecash says:

      Rose Kennedy said “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

      Liked by 2 people

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