By Bill Frayer
Ed. Note: Bill was a long-time, highly-esteemed columnist for the Ojo, (Uncommon Common Sense) and this is his remembrance of his wife, Pixie, who passed away recently. We also publish this poem for the benefit of the many people here at Lakeside who have lost a beloved family member.
“It never stops, the remembering... It seems impossible to endure at first, but after a long time, I think you’d rather be haunted than not.” —Rich Bass
It haunts me, of course.
How did it pass so quickly?
How did you disappear into dust
when I wasn’t looking?
Your presence still seems physical.
All your Mexican jewelry
stares at me from the dresser.
Your empty chair sits with me
as I watch our favorite Netflix shows.
The photos that I place around the house
with their frozen smiles, seem unreal.
I am haunted by our years,
the impetuous jump into family,
the joy and pain of children,
the camping trips,
the endless Christmases,
the tender moments late at night,
the crazy move to Mexico,
the final, heartbreaking illness.
Now, my free time alone
with your ghost always present.
You loved your Freda earrings
made from flattened beer caps.
I remember the warm day in Mexico City
when we sat in her garden
by the cornflower blue house
and admired the yellow flowers.
I saved the emerald ring I gave you
to commemorate thirty years together
as we renewed our wedding vows
on the Cliffs of Mohr. We laughed
because I could hardly speak
through my bronchitis brought on by
the cold Irish weather. Thank God
for pubs with music, tea, and Guinness.
The children’s high school portraits
still hang in the living room,
recalling their adolescent attitudes
as we struggled through our forties,
cozy nights in the waterbed
overlooking the pines and the lake.
The old chipped teapot you used
to brew Earl Gray to comfort
our wayward daughter who
came home to live with us again
and escape her demons.
The layers of colored sand
standing proud atop our hutch
in the big Ball jar. You devised
the ritual five short years ago
to honor our forty years together
by having all those we love
pour their color as they spoke
of what our union meant to them.
You wore flowers in your hair,
just as you did the day we married.
Yes, I’d rather be haunted