A Widower’s Letter to His Wife

Guest Post by Mr. Don Price.  A dear and deeply spiritual friend recently became a Widower when he lost his beloved wife,  Maxine.  They were working, living, loving together, for over 19 years.  Together they raised 5 children, endured the gross ineptitude of the medical world, and all of life’s growing pings and pangs.

Maxine was among so many things, a dancer, a film maker, a home maker, a capable and caring Mother.  Don’s unique ability to poignantly pen his thoughts and feelings carry us to that deep and raw state of awareness and loss we will one day or another face fully.  The mystery of death quietly stalks all our lives, awareness of its Fact helps us to live our present moments with the tinge of Reality.   Don is now in the process of creating a website about their lives together with stories, photos, videos.  When it becomes available the site will be posted here.


Dear Maxine,

It’s been hard to say good bye. For many months I would go into your room through out the day, as though expecting you to be there. How could you not be there? Your clothes, your furniture, your medical supplies, all the clever devices and machines and equipment I had worked so hard to find and make for you, were all still there. The blue scooter, the hospital bed, your laptop, your favorite head-scarves, the soft ruby red sweater that I found for you, your favorite white sweater with the stains on the sleeves that I could never get out, everything…was still there.

Maxine, Don helping and supporting behind her wheelchair.

The soft Ruby Red Sweater on Maxine, Don helping and supporting behind her wheelchair.

My glaring, vivid memories were there. But you were not. No matter how many times I would go into your room, you would still not be there. For a moment, gazing around, searching, I could almost for a moment feel your presence again, flooded with memories. For a moment, I thought I could bring back our 19 years together through an act of will and memory. But the horror and shock of it was that you were not there and never could be or would be again,  and so I would cry…and cry.

Now I am all alone in a world of strangers. Even among close friends who love me I can feel alone. No one knows me like you did. I don’t trust anyone like I trusted you. We knew each other so completely and had figured out how to function and enjoy life despite our differences. But it was stable. Even the horror of the cancer was stable. We knew what to expect. We had a plan. We tried our best to carry out the plan and our routines every day.  We got closer and closer. We blended together out of necessity So much was awful and stressful. Days of it. Years of it. Yet we clung together, tighter and tighter and tighter. And then one day you were gone. How could you be gone?

I once saw two squirrels in the road. One squirrel had just been killed by a car and lay lifeless in the middle of the road. The other squirrel, (a child, a wife or husband?), kept running from the edge of road out to it’s center, to stand by the dead squirrel’s body. Then it would run back to the edge of the road and look back. It couldn’t understand why it’s companion wasn’t jumping up and following it. I had to drive from this terrible scene. I imagined that, after repeated trips back to the center of the road, it would eventually give up. Hunger, tiredness, exhaustion…learning…it would stop and give up and go into the forest to carry on the business of survival.

So I suppose I am not very different from the little Grey squirrel. I kept running back to your beautiful little room, where so much of our life transpired. But you weren’t there. Over and over again. So…slowly…slowly…I began give up. I began to realize that I would never see you again as you were. I would remember the decorative wicker urn of ashes in the box in your closet. That was all that was left.

So Nature is merciful. Gradually I am forgetting. Not the memories themselves, but the emotional charge is draining out of them. I don’t go into your room as much. I no longer reach for my cell phone while driving or in the supermarket to call you. I ignore the photo display I made for you in the living room. The little blue scooter gathers more dust in it’s place next to the front door.

So what is left? So much. So, so much. We were both changed forever. We created pure love out of hardship, pain, fear, death. The power that was created from the two of us radiated out and touched many other people around us. Our children, our friends, our family, everyone was touched to some degree by who and what we had become. So in the end the world was changed. the Universe was changed. Our tiny drop of uniqueness has now merged into the Vastness. Where it will go on forever, rippling out like light rays, part of the Everything. Changing Everything.

I had thought Our Story was finally done. But maybe all we went through was just a chapter, in an Endless Book.

The day after you left your body, you came to me, you did, I know now more than ever that it really was you, you came to me from the other side with your message. You did not forget but came to tell me the wondrous secret you had found. You told me that we had Won. You told me that we were Victorious. You told me that the Joy and Love was so great that everything we went through no longer was even real. It was just a dream to help lift us into that blazing, glorious Light in which you now soared. You told me not to grieve, but to join you in Rejoicing. Rejoice in unspeakable, radiant, eternal Joy and a never dying Universal Love. You pleaded with me to join you. You exclaimed, come, rejoice with me now!

Yet still I go into your little room…our little room…to seek you out once more, if only in memory. Yet still I cry. But I am getting better. Nature is merciful. The little grey squirrel and I will heal.

We created a Love in the darkness, like a new star, that will hang forever in the night sky. I will, one day, be able to…join you…and Rejoice! Rejoice!

Love, Don

PK Willey

PK Willey, Ph.D., is an American, a Gandhian scholar, author and entrepreneur, who has delved deeply into Gandhi's Earth Ethics. Willey seeks to enhance philosophical discourse around the world where globalization has altered ethical values, particularly in the USA. Willey finds Gandhi's ideas, thoughts, and example, to be invaluable in this effort. Currently, besides numerous articles and book projects,Willey is developing a new framework for qualitative research that employs Earth Ethics, guided by a Gandhian compass and Weibust's Transformative Paradigm.

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