Taroona sunrise Oct 2017.
On the morning of this sunrise, Bruce and I eyed Taroona up as a possible settling place for some time in the future, as we figured we’d need to move to Hobart one day when our current house would be too much work for me, and, of course, neither of us knew that this would be his last full day on earth. We decided Taroona, with beach walks and sunrise over the ocean, was just the place for us. Who would ever believe what lay ahead of us and that such a conversation was superfluous? It seems surreal to look back on all these tiny events, so incidental at the time, and yet so crammed with importance for me later (like now). Mostly, you only know when something is the “last time” in retrospect.
I guess losing your partner makes you sentimental, as I find myself clinging to all these “last things”, hanging onto them, as if doing so will help me somehow hang on to Bruce. But, meanwhile, his sudden disappearance and death reinforce for me the lesson I have known since I was a child, when my father had a heart attack (I was eight) and my mother got cancer (I was twelve): namely, that I shouldn’t take relationships for granted. What walks and talks today can be gone tomorrow. I learned not to assume that anything I loved would be there for ever. Knowing that helps one live life to the fullest.
Because of my parents, I never wasted time with Bruce, even insisting that he come to Europe for three weeks each year to watch me compete, wanting to use time together wisely while we had it, for you never know what the future holds. We lived life fully right to his end, and so, although I am devastated to lose him, I have lost him without a sense of regret that we could have done better, that we wasted our precious time together, or that we should have done this or that thing while we could. It would have been hard to eek out more than we did from life without dying (even earlier) from exhaustion. I think it was a marriage well lived.