About a week ago I saw an interview conducted with Steven Roberts husband, widower and best- selling author of a new book about his late wife Cokie Roberts entitled Cokie Roberts: A Life Well Lived. At the start of the interview the interviewer spoke about the impact Cokie Roberts had on her life as a journalist and then asked Steven Roberts the question all of us in this group often get: “How are you doing? Steven Roberts responded as follows:
“It has been a tough road he said, we were married for 53 years. This is the way I chose to grieve; this is the way I chose to mourn and this how I celebrate her life. She was so much more that a famous journalist; she was a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. She had a quick wit and a sharp mind combined with a heart of gold and tremendous love for family and friends. I want her to be remembered as a good person that all of us can learn from and emulate”
His words I believe resonate in the hearts and minds of each of us. As we approach Thanksgiving, I recall past holidays when my wife and I would reflect on what we were thankful for. First on the list was the love we shared for almost 30 years. I was thankful that she came into my life and chose me to be her husband. I was grateful for the support, confidence, and “kicks in the pants” at times I needed to build my business and be a successful provider and husband. She was grateful for me and showed her love in countless ways that I often think about each day as I miss her so dearly. She loved her children and grandchildren as well and always relished this season as they would await with great anticipation the holidays and sharing their joy and excitement with us.
As I walk the path without my beloved wife I again for the second holiday season I pause to reflect on what she taught me. Holidays are special times to gather with family and friends, to be grateful for what you have; what you have learned and what you can do for others. It easy to sink into sadness over our collective loses. It easy to say I want to be quiet and want to avoid the season since it brings back tears and sorrow.
Let me begin by giving thanks for what I had. For thirty years I had a wonderful, caring, loving woman who taught me to be a good man, a loving husband and a good father. She helped me build a career and provide a home and be a role model for our children and grand children She taught me to be grateful for what I have and to appreciate those blessings in my life.
What have I learned? I witnessed her love for all people. She always thought about her children, grandchildren, friends, and relatives first. She hosted many parties including her 44th birthday party that was just an excuse to host a large party and to celebrate, have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Why 44, Who knows? It was never about her; it was about others sharing good food and laughing until it hurts. My wife taught me to love life, cherish good friends and enjoy delicious food.
Thirdly always think about others. How can I help other people? The simple way was to pick up the phone and call them. My wife did not like texting or emails. Rather the other persons voice, gain an understanding of how they are doing. Meet them face to face to share a meal and show you are a good friend. Most importantly turn off the cell phone for that time so you can devote your attention to the quality time spent together. Reach out and help others in need when you can. Volunteer and support organizations that need your help. My wife donated too so many animal protection groups that continue to send me letters each week. I try to support as many as I can without breaking my bank.
Find the causes your loved one supported and keep her memory alive by helping others
I continue to mourn my wife, but I also recall her joy. For Christians and Jews alike it the season of anticipation and joy. The Festival of Lights and the celebration of Christmas mark new life, joy and hopefully peace. Give thanks for what we had and continue to have through family and friends. My wife loved to celebrate the season. I am traveling to South Carolina to see my son and daughter in law for Thanksgiving and then to New Hampshire to see my other daughter and grands for Christmas. I look forward to being with family sharing laughs, good times, fond memories and keeping my wife alive in the joy and tears we will share.
I look forward to dinners and lunches with friends and relatives. I look forward more importantly to sharing the gifts my wife taught me with others.