“Somebody sent me this picture today.
Of course, I chuckled.
It was the way he took pictures.
Unless under extreme duress, threats, bribes, or a sweet request by our daughter, he would not take a picture.
It just wasn’t his thing.
He didn’t like it.
So, he hid as often as he could, or apparently, stuck something in front of his face.
My husband was a police officer, and as depicted in this picture, it looks like he might’ve been cleaning some kind of gun when the paparazzi snuck in to catch the guys at work.
Instead of a professional photo, it was probably somebody who outranked him at the time; so instead of running out of the room, he picked up whatever was closest and promptly shielded himself from the attention.
He was like that, you know.
He didn’t love to be the center of attention, but when he was, he would surely entertain you with his humor, or his funny stories or just listening to you ramble on because trust me, I can ramble and that man either was an incredible listener or he learned how to tune me out over the years.
So, when I saw this picture, my first reaction was to smile.
Mostly because he made me happy.
He was good to me.
Loyal as they come.
He made me feel loved.
And as soon as all that joy and remembrance filled my broken heart, a twinge of sadness rushed over me as I studied the picture more.
It’s interesting what happens when you’re a widow and you see a picture of the man you loved and lost, especially a picture you haven’t seen before or one you might have forgotten.
You study it.
You stare longer.
It isn’t something you just look at and then turn away.
You focus on it.
You look for things that might ease your pain.
A twinkle in the eye.
Anything that speaks to you at that very moment.
And, at this moment, I saw his wedding ring.
It’s hard to see.
The picture isn’t that great.
But, I can see it.
Maybe it’s because if I could get him in a picture, it was either a selfie or one of him standing up and his hands weren’t showing.
But, in this one, when it should be irritating that he’s blocking his face, it’s actually the sweetest picture I can remember seeing in a long time.
Because that wedding ring?
That’s something he only shared with me.
It means something.
It means he was coming home that night.
It means he was going to BBQ.
It means he was going to pick up our daughter from gymnastics.
It means he was going to talk to us about our day.
It means he was going to throw some things in the laundry and maybe watch some TV.
It means he was going to listen to me tell him some story of something that happened that day.
It means he was going to pet the dog, help our daughter with her math homework that I didn’t understand, and listen to some music while drinking a beer in the garage with a friend that stopped by.
It means he was going to make me laugh, more than once, and it means he was going to kiss me goodnight before I dragged myself into bed.
It means he was going to tell me he loved me and tell me to sleep well, only to walk in and out of the bedroom ten times before he finally got tired enough to finally get in bed himself.
It means he was alive.
It means life was normal.
And, what I would give now for that normal life.
Him being him, me being me, and the daily struggle of just trying to get a picture.
The only benefit to him not wanting to take the pictures is that I quickly learned how to burn memories into my brain, and I am flooded with those every day.
But, I still miss him so much, and on those days when I am not sure how much more I can bear, a friend finds a random picture and sends it to me and then I see the right thing, at exactly the right time.
I don’t think that’s a coincidence, friends.
It’s strange how the widow brain works when it actually works at all.
But if I could pass on one completely unsolicited piece of advice for my non-widow friends, let them take the picture however they want to.
Because one day, you might need to see the smile.
You might need to see the twinkling eye.
And one day, you might just need to see the ring.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diana Register of Meridian, Idaho. Her books “Grief Life” and “Grief & Glitter” are available in print and on kindle. You can find more of her books here, and her podcast here. Connect with Diana on her author Facebook page, and Instagram.
Read more from Diana here:
‘Is this the real pin?,’ my daughter squeaked out. ‘Yes, my love, it is.’ ‘From his shirt?’ Her eyes were big and curious.’: Widow’s emotional gift for daughters honors their late father, ‘My hands trembled. It was beautiful, stunning’
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