Ann passed away 3 years ago on September 5, 2016.
We dated in junior high school -yes, junior high school-and high school. She was a member of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, back in the day, with me. After my 4 years in the Air Force, our paths crossed again, and we married in December 1966. We would have celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in December of 2016.
Losing a mate/spouse/partner/significant other is different than losing a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, and a family member. The Love is different. When you lose that person, you lose a part of yourself. You lose someone you went to sleep with every night and spent most of your waking moments with. You mourn, you grieve, you cry, and you remember those moments that only the two of you could remember.When I called Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. – Bishop Sr.—to tell him Ann had passed, and to ask him to “give” Words of Comfort at her service, he of course, said he would. Bishop Sr. has been a friend of both of our families, and eulogized several of my family members and Ann’s family members. After praying with me, he said to me, “Rodney grieve and mourn whatever way you want. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. And in the middle of your grieving, thank God for the more than 50 years he gave you and Ann together.”
I remember those words every day. Mourning does not get any easier. After Ann passed, several friends and family members suggested I "take a vacation" or “get-away” for a while. They meant well, and the suggestion was made in Love, but you cannot “get-way from” or “take a vacation from” a life of memories and experiences. You carry them with you. A song, a favorite place, a food dish, a movie, celebrating the holidays.No one really knows how you feel when you lose a wife and a partner and a soulmate and a best friend, all rolled into one magnificent person. They think they do...they don’t.
I am learning to “manage” grieving, just like many must learn to manage pain. And I always remember the great experiences and the great memories and the great times God gave me with Ann.
Ann was an Old School Music person too, and one of our favorite songs was written by Paul Williams entitled, “You and Me Against The World.” We particularly liked Jerry Butler’s version. A few of the lyrics...
“You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
And for all the tears we cried
I always felt God was on our side
And when one of us is gone
And one is left alone to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through.
Think about the days of me and you
Of you and me against the world.”
Ann was not here for the birth of our first Great Grand, Everly Ann, "presented" by our granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Kyle (Marquiette) Dorrell, but thanks to Kita and Kyle, she carries Ann's name.
I am not through crying, nor will I ever be. I am not through grieving, nor will I ever be. What a great 50+ years. I Love Ya Baby, and I Really Miss You. -- Me.