Ed and I loved to travel extensively and we were blessed to visit all fifty states and many countries to get a close up view of life, especially agriculture, in other places. We both had a natural curiosity about things and our adventures created some of our best memories.
We experienced many different cultures and we learned to rely on our limited foreign language skills to get around in places we visited. You should have heard him speak horrible French with his southern accent as he tried to order a steak. He was always polite and always attracted notice with his booming voice and hearty laugh. In fact, the French café owners where we frequently ate dinner on one trip came to love him and referred to him as a cowboy...he just could not get them to understand "farmer"!
We experienced exotic foods, very different music, transportation modes, clothing, entertainment and lifestyles. Ed loved to fly by the seat of his pants, without a plan or even a destination. He loved to walk out the door and see what the world was all about.
To many of our family and friends, that lifestyle seemed strange. They couldn't reconcile the boring, homebodies that we were at home with the adventurers we would turn into as soon as Ed said, "Let's go, Monk!" I couldn't pack fast enough! In fact, I kept a camper checklist and a suitcase checklist so we could take off on a minute's notice.
At home, on the farm, life was never exotic and was much simpler than the efforts we expended on satisfying our travelling bug. We lived a simple life. Simple meals from our garden, simple old vehicles with over 100,000 miles each, simple clothes and simple social life. Outside of travelling, our lives were very "normal".
"Normal" for us was reading Sacred Scripture every morning. Normal was Ed starting my car to warm it up for me before I left for work. Normal was me calling him to let him know I was on my way home and please start the grill. Normal was Saturday night Mass and a Sunday visit from the kids and grandchildren. Normal was him surfing Newagtalk and me reading a book. Normal was tending the woodstoves.
Normal was counting our blessings as we ascended the stairs each night. The pictures of those grandchildren on the stairway wall reminding us how well God had provided for our happiness and well being.
On December 24, with Ed's cancer diagnosis, everything changed. Nothing after that was ever normal again. Life became a battle for Ed's survival and a challenge to adjust to everything that was thrown at us in a very short time. On Good Friday, with Ed's passing, everything changed once again.
Daughter Tara told me she simply cannot fathom that Ed will not be there on Monday to welcome our 15th grandchild. I'll have to do my best to fill the void he leaves. Monday will be bittersweet.
I'm struggling after barely three weeks to even try to envision my life without Ed, to create a new normal. He was such a huge presence and a daily part of my normal life. I know that Ed is watching over me and I hope he is proud of my efforts as I take on new responsibilities and new challenges. I think about him in everything I do.
I lit a fire in the insert today. It is cold and rainy and dreary. The fire made the house more cheery and reminds me of the days when tending a wood fire with Ed was normal.