Throughout my marriage Andrea had a hard time coming to terms with my family. She didn’t hate them, nor did she have a massive love-fest, I suppose. But there are a few things that I wish she’d realized before she left. I regret that she didn’t know these things, all thoughts and wishes that I should have told her years ago. They’re all thoughts that might have made a difference in my and her life because they’d have made her so happy. In fact I can see her crying there now, sitting at the kitchen table, with her coffee mug in her hand, just thinking about it.
Andrea knew I was close with my family and sometimes that led to difficulties when I would talk with them. My Dad is someone I trust implicitly and someone on whom I rely very heavily. In fact, I haven’t told many people, but when I was lonely and depressed in college, working at my first TV job, my Dad saw Andrea on a tape of my work and asked why I hadn’t asked her out. I came up with some excuse, but at the time I was certain I wasn’t even on her radar. I was . . . well, me, and she was . . . Andrea.
But I did ask her, with my Dad’s voice nagging in my head. He may have regretted it years later, having dealt with my wife and me through the years, but he was the reason we were together. She had no idea. The people she thought – incorrectly, I might add – didn’t accept her, were responsible for us being together.
I wish she’d known my Dad put us together.
I wish she’d been conscious, aware of what was going on the day she started to go downhill. I told her but she wasn’t hearing, I don’t think. I told her that my Dad and Mom had stayed up until 4am and gotten in the van, in the middle of their trip to see my brother, and instead raced West, heading for us instead. They asked no questions, and when I said I didn’t know what I was going to do my Dad said he’d help me figure it out.
I wish she had seen how, when they walked in the door the day she died, we all took a cleansing breath, realizing someone who knew what the hell they were doing, was there.
I wish she’d seen how torn up they were by her death. She would have heard my Dad’s voice crack when I told him she hadn’t made it and that I was at the hospital and lost.
I wish she’d seen how personally my Mom and Dad took her death and how he was just as angry about it as I was.
I wish she had seen how the funeral and the mortuary were taken care of because my Dad helped, no questions asked.
I wish she’d known I couldn’t leave the cemetery and nearly collapsed from grief only to have my Dad hold me up, to help me get out of the cemetery when all I wanted to do was collapse on the ground.
I wish she’d been able to see them take over for her, for months, living with her children and helping them to adjust to a whole new life – a life without her.
I wish she’d seen her best friend from college arrive and help us all to get through even though we never asked her.
I wish she’d seen the delicacy with which my Mom, a wonderful but strong Midwestern woman, treated all her pictures, clothes and personal items when we had to move out of our home.
But it doesn’t just relate to her passing. So much of the last year has been about things that I just wanted to tell her:
I wish she’d been able to see the change in attitude where I put the kids and family above all else – more than ever before.
I wish she’d heard her daughter in her high school play, smiling just like her mother and giving me goosebumps as I heard her mother’s voice coming out of her little body.
I wish she’d seen the boys’ school projects of an apple tree and a UFO as a book report.
I wish she’d seen her daughter’s face when she got the prom dress she’d dreamed about from Santa.
I wish she’d known how much my family loved her and how empty it’s been without her.
I wish I could tell her how happy I am to be at my new job and writing in the evening, and how she’d inspired me to write for this site and writing a daily blog about her kids, about me, and about her . . . every night.
I wish she had realized just how important she was to us, even though she tried to say she wasn’t.
I wish she’d seen her children become four of the most amazing people I have ever met.
Do you have ideas or wishes that are there, waiting for the “right moment” to spring them or tell them to the people you love? Do you or your spouse have problems with the in-laws you can’t overcome? Sure, there are issues, I still have my own that I have to face, the demons that chase me every day. But what if they weren’t as bad as you thought? If Andrea had seen how deeply she’d touched my whole family – my parents, brothers, all of them, it would have changed so many things. Those things you keep putting off, the change in focus from work to home, the change in attitude about being with her (his) family, are not worth putting off.
You should make your thoughts and ideas become reality. If you don’t, those very things, the things that are so important go from possibility to wishes.
You say that’s not a road you want to travel. Why? Because more than anything else, and beyond all other things . . . and this is the most important:
I wish she’d heard me tell her I loved her about a million more times.
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Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.