Sunday, July 23, 2006


Annie, 20 Dec 1942 - 23 Jul 2005

Ann at Jo Necker's, 12-19-03
This photo of Annie was taken the day before her 61st birthday on 19 Dec 2003. It was just eleven days before I retired and was one of the first photos I took with my then new Sony DSC-10 digital camera. It was taken in the living room of a long time friend and former neighbor of ours from Auburn. It's one of my favorites of the recent photos of Annie and is the one we used on the cover of the booklet for her Memorial Service last Aug 3rd.

After more than 37 1/2 years of marriage, my Annie died while I was holding her in my arms at 10:40am a year ago today at Skagit Valley Hospital, Mount Vernon WA. We hadn't expected her to die. She was just there to have some wounds that opened up over pressure points in her body treated. It looked like it might be a long hospital stay but she had been through long stays before. However, this time, she caught pneumonia on the 21st and couldn't fight that off along with all the other things that seemed to start going wrong at once.

On Valentine's Day this year I found a wonderful poem that had been posted on Susan's blog by emob called, "Within You", written by S. Hancock. It seemed to me as though that poem had been written by Annie for me & was somehow put in a place where I would find it on that day for lovers. I love it and thought I'd post it again today as there are people reading here now that were not back then.

Within You

If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not blacken long your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The steady layering of intimacy stored,
The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
The knowing,
Each giving and each taking,
These are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand
And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand.
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A conjoined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the wood where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Be still.
Close your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.

S. Hancock

I was getting ready this morning to leave to drive to church at St Paul's in Cheney, when I looked out the RV window & here were my son M, J & K walking up to the rig! They had gotten up early, left home at 04:30 and driven over to surprise me. They are staying the night in a motel about two miles away & we will have tomorrow together before they leave for home in the late afternoon. I also got the chance to talk with my other son, B, tonight on the phone. I guess after today I will not have so many firsts to face without my Annie as most of them will already have happened. There was a fantastic sunset tonight that I feel was sent to us to enjoy by Annie. I took some photos but want to post this now so will have to do those photos at a later date.

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Oh Dick, what a touching post. I am so sorry that she passed so young. It is a wonderful family that you have, showing up the way they did. I hope you enjoyed your time together and I am sure you will share many fond rememberances of Annie. I love that poem too.
My thoughts are with you Dick. I am sure you will have a collage of memories flood your thoughts this week. Good to have family close at these moments. Quite a personable photograph of Annie.
That is a beautiful picture of Annie, Dick. The first year, and all of the 'firsts' are definitely the hardest. Having your family come to help each other through this first anniversary was such a nice thing.

I love that verse... love it. And I can't wait to see your photos Dick. God bless Annie, and you.
Very sweet, Dick.


Her beauty shines in the photo, to be sure, but it radiates brightest in the loving memories you hold of her, and the words spoken to us from your innermost soul. The Lord blessed you both with many years of happiness, and has promised you an eternity together.
Your Annie lives on my friend, in the thoughts you share with us.
Thank you for letting us know her, too.
Hi Dick ,
This photo is beautiful , and your words and story really touched me , I mean really really touched me !, I can only hope that I am loved as you love your Annie,it is so wonderful to see that . Although a sad story I feel your love for her overflowing , and the poem is perfect , everyone who has lost someone near and dear should read this !
wasnt it sweet of your boys to surprise you , you are so loved and have a wonderful family , God Bless and know people out here are thinking of you as well :} Hugs for Huggy and OK a scratch too take care
What a beautiful post, and what lovely memories you hold about your beloved Annie. The verse is gorgeous, it brought tears to my eyes. Your family are wonderful to surprise you with their visit. You are blessed, Dick, to be loved by so many.
Take care, and hugs, from Meow
No doubt she is missed by many people and it sounds like you were very blessed to have someone so lovely beside you all those years!! Blessings...and may you continue to be comforted.
What a loving tribute to Annie, Dick. She was special, and your memories of her still are. :-)

Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. I appreciate them very much. Hope you enjoyed your time with your family.

Safe journey, my friend, and pet Huggy for me. :-)
I wish I could think of something comforting to say here but I'm crying from that poem and the whole sadness I feel for you and her but I can see it was joy too because you did know something beautiful and nobody gets to keep anything forever. You are just fortunate you had it at all-- and a lifetime's worth. Many never do.
may you be blessed with peace. Your life has been full, and you have many around you to make it full once again.

There are many who thnk of you.
Hi Dick - I found you thru your comments on Alan G's blog. The picture of Annie is wonderful as is the poem. It took awhile for the photo to load so I read the poem first and then came back up to see Annie's just really hit me at that moment that it is her poem to you. I know she will live in your heart forever.
One year? I didn't realize you had lost her that recently. I'm coming up on two years next month. When I passed all those milestones the first year... our anniversary, his birthday, the date of his death, each one affected me differently. A friend told me once "This is the last time you'll have to go through this for the first time." That was good, if a little hard to parse. (((hugs)))
Your Annie is beautiful, Dick. Thank you for showing her to us.
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