The Remembering

By Bill Frayer

Bill Frayer wife

 

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

than not.

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