The Curtain Has Fallen

This is the last chapter. Oh sure, there are a few small details to wrap up but this is it. The End. The Conclusion. The Finish. The Curtain Has Fallen.

On Friday, November 26, 2021 I buried my wife of 30 years. A light dusting of snow fell the night before. It was overcast and gloomy. It was cold and some light snow flurries swirled in the frigid air. It was a good day for a burial. I had the honor of delivering the eulogy. It only took about 5 minutes.

Charlotte Wells came into this world on April 13th 1964 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of two children born to Nathaniel and Barbara Wells. 

I first met Charlotte at our workplace, a law firm, in Orlando, Florida in 1989. She was 25 years old and fresh out of Rollins College. She was an assistant in the firm’s law library and I was running a copy machine. I still have a vivid memory of her face on that day and how beautiful she was. 

She hardly knew me but one day out of the blue she walked into the copy room and looked right at me and asked, Do you know where there are any parties this weekend? That’s when we started dating. We moved into an apartment together in June 1990. We had almost nothing. Five years later we eloped to Las Vegas and got married in a church called The Little Church of the West. It was built in 1942 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Charlotte had every good quality that a person could have. She was kind, gentle, strong, caring, hard-working, reliable, honest, practical, loyal, creative, appreciative and sensitive. She was perceptive, thoughtful, willing, experienced, open-minded, intelligent, witty and much, much more. Charlotte had very few faults. She could be insecure at times. During those times I would remind her that she had great value and that she was a powerful woman. She could also be jealous and possessive – of me! And look at me. Can you really blame her?

Charlotte loved all animals but horses especially. She preferred the company of animals over people. I can’t say I blame her. She owned 4 horses and cared for many others. She rode her horses when she could but what she really enjoyed were the many hours of grooming, bathing, feeding, hoof care and training. She became an accomplished and knowledgeable horse woman. She also loved rock and roll – especially the blues. She enjoyed buying clothes and dressing to look good. She really enjoyed receiving gifts of expensive jewelry from me. 

I’d say that Charlotte and I had a relationship that was as close to perfect as any relationship could be. We loved each other very much and we were totally devoted to one another. Here’s why our relationship was perfect - Charlotte was a person who needed to be loved and cared for and I was a person who needed to show love and to care for someone. It was a perfect fit.

Now, when I look back on our 30 years together it seems like it was all a dream. I still can’t believe that a kind, wonderful, tall, beautiful girl with blonde hair married a caveman like me. It just doesn't seem real. 

Now, we wish Charlotte peace in Eternity. She has entered the last sleep free of pain and care and worry. But Charlotte’s spirit will live on in everyone who loved her. We’re here today to remember Charlotte and commit her ashes to this sacred ground. It won’t be long until I’ll return here to spend eternity with her. 

A lot of men refer to their wives as angels. But when I say my wife’s an angel it’s because now it’s true. Goodbye bunny. I’ll love you forever. 

And no, I didn't have someone else bury her. I literally buried her. The cemetery's gravediggers dug the grave. I placed the urn holding her ashes into the grave and I used my shovel to place the dirt on top of the urn. Being careful to not touch the urn, I used the shovel to break up the clodded Ohio clay into smaller pieces so it would better fit.  I packed the earth down with my foot.  Some friends helped me get the gravestone out of the bed of my pickup. We placed it upon the concrete foundation and sealed it with some special putty I got from the funeral home.  

This act was not horrible to me at all. I felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity. It gave me a true feeling of closure and relief. 

Charlotte died of cancer in November 2020 and was cremated. I was by Charlotte's side when she got her cancer diagnosis. I took her to all her doctors appointments and chemo treatments. I took her to the emergency room a number of times. I cooked healthy food for her. I took her on her last vacation to the Smoky Mountains. I was with her at the hospital when her oncologist advised us to go home and call hospice. Toward the end I helped her to the bathroom and cleaned her body. I placed her in the bed she died in. I held her hand as the life slowly ebbed from her body. I saw this whole horrible thing through from beginning to end. I did it and now it's done.

We had no plans for getting older. Charlotte was supposed to live into her 90s like her family and I was supposed to die young like my family. Charlotte was six years younger then me and was going to take care of me when I got old. We never had kids so I won't have children to rely on for help.  As my health wanes and the lights begin to flicker I'll have to leave our beloved farm. I won't be able to do the work needed to maintain the property. It's pretty unlikely I'll ever meet anyone who could love me as much as Charlotte did. 

Now my future is uncertain. I might be able to retire in a couple of years and travel a bit but after that I don't know.

When someone you love dies so quickly you realize how precious life is. It's a cliche but it's true. The confidence of  youth is replaced by fear and uncertainly and the knowledge that you could be the next to go at any time. I've been damaged by this experience but when my parents died 40 plus years ago I learned that there's nothing more we can do for those who have passed onto the next world. It's our job, our duty to continue living our lives right here in this world. The clock keeps ticking. Life goes on.

I still feel her presence. I see her in my dreams and I still cry. Caring for Charlotte, serving as her husband and burying her was the honor of my life. I'll never forget her and the love we shared as long as I live.