Published By: MIRA
Published: May 01, 2011
ISBN # 9780778327806
Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook, Secure Adobe eBook
On the anniversary of his beloved wife's death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request. An impossible request. I want you to marry again. She tells him he shouldn't spend the years he has left grieving--and she's chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah's list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a chef who owns a café on Seattle's Blossom Street. The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah's oncology nurse. Michael knows them both. But the third name is one he's not familiar with--Macy Roth.
During the months that follow, he spends time with these three women, learning more about each of them...and about himself. Learning what Hannah already knew. He's a man who needs the completeness only love can offer. And Hannah's list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.
I am not a sentimental guy. I've been known to forget Mother's Day and, once, when Hannah and I were dating, I even let Valentine's go unnoticed. Fortunately she didn't take my lapse too seriously or see it as any reflection of my feelings. As for anniversaries and birthdays, I'm a lost cause. In fact, I'd probably overlook Christmas if it wasn't for all the hoopla. It's not that I'm self-absorbed... Well, maybe I am, but aren't we all to a certain extent?
To me, paying a lot of attention to people because it's their birthday or some made-up holiday is ridiculous. When you love someone, you need to show that love each and every day. Why wait for a certain time of year to bring your wife flowers? Action really does speak louder than words, especially if it's a loving deed, something you do for no particular reason. Except that you want to. Because you care.
Hannah taught me that. Hannah. A year ago today, May eighth, I lost her, my beautiful thirty-six-year-old wife. Even now, a whole year after her death, I can't think of her without my gut twisting into knots.
A year. Three hundred and sixty-five lonely days and empty nights.
A few days after her death, I stood over Hannah's casket and watched as it was lowered into the ground. I threw the first shovelful of dirt into her grave. I'll never forget that sound. The hollow sound of earth hitting the coffin's gleaming surface.
Not an hour passes that I don't remember Hannah. Actually, that's an improvement. In those first few months, I couldn't keep her out of my head for more than a minute. Everything I saw or heard reminded me of Hannah.
To simply say I loved her would diminish the depth of my feelings. In every way she completed me. Without her, my world is bleak and colorless and a thousand other adjectives that don't begin to describe the emptiness I've felt since she's been gone.
I talk to her constantly. I suppose I shouldn't tell people that. We've had this ongoing one-sided conversation from the moment she smiled up at me one last time and surrendered her spirit to God.
So, here I am a year later, pretending to enjoy the Seattle Mariners' baseball game when all I can think about is my wife. My one-year-dead wife.
Ritchie, Hannah's brother and my best friend, invited me to share box seats for this game. I'm not fooled. I'm well aware that my brother-in-law didn't include me out of some mistaken belief that I'm an inveterate baseball fan. He knows exactly what anniversary this is.
I might not be sentimental, but this is one day I can't forget.
As a physician, a pediatrician, I'm familiar with death. I've witnessed it far too often and it's never easy, especially with children. Even when the end is peaceful and serene as it was with Hannah, I feel I've been cheated, that I've lost.
As a teenager I was involved in sports. I played football in the fall, basketball in winter and baseball in the spring, and worked as a lifeguard during the summers. The competitive spirit is a natural part of who I am. I don't like to lose, and death, my adversary, doesn't play fair. Death took Hannah from me, from all of us, too early. She was the most vibrant, joyful, loving woman I have ever known. I've been floundering ever since.
Although I've fought death, my enemy, from the day I became a doctor--it's why I became a doctor--I learned to understand it in a different, more complex way. I learned death can be a friend even while it's the enemy. As she lay dying, Hannah, who loved me so completely and knew me so well, showed me that ultimate truth.
A year's time has given me the perspective to realize I did my wife a disservice. My biggest regret is that I refused to accept the fact that she was...