Her Name Was Janet

 

Janet Lardas. You knew her as Quilter.

She died yesterday. Cancer claimed her after a three-year fight.

She was my wife. She was also my closest friend, my lover, my confidant, my biggest cheerleader, and my most trusted advisor.

I loved her. Very much.

Now she is gone. I am bereft. I will miss her terribly.

We were married for over forty years. Over that time we had three sons and watched them grow into productive adults. We built a home together. With her support I built a career. She made things – everything from quilts to furniture.

Her guidance saved me from disaster on several occasions. She pulled me back to earth when my dreams went too high, but let me follow them when they were not folly. She understood the difference.

She was absolutely fearless, except for one thing. She was afraid of being noticed. I don’t know why, but she was. When we joined Ricochet we originally used our real names. That was okay because Ricochet was a forum behind a paywall. Then she saw our names turn up on a web search and asked me to use a handle. She suggested the names. I became Seawriter and she became Quilter.  Then at her request Seawriter and Quilter became just Seawriter.

I tried to talk her into commenting. That was the reason I ended all my comments with Seawriter. When she commented she would end hers with Quilter. But she never commented. She did not want to be noticed. (I guess I can skip the Seawriter from now on.)

We met when she was fourteen and I was seventeen. We married when she was nineteen and I was twenty-one. We had a choice of wedding dates: the last weekend in April or the first in May. We married in May because that date was after her nineteenth birthday and her mother did not want her daughter to get married at eighteen.

They say May marriages are unlucky. They say marriages made when you are in your teens don’t last. They were right. Right on both counts.  This marriage was far shorter than it should have been. We should have grown old together, but we got unlucky.

If you are married, do me a favor. Today give your spouse a hug, a kiss, and tell them you love them. For no particular reason – just because. You will never regret having done that. After you no longer can, you will regret every opportunity you passed up doing so. That hour might arrive sooner than you think.

I do not know what the future holds for me. If I avoid bad luck (or perhaps if I am unlucky enough – today I cannot decide) I could easily live another thirty years. My dad is in his nineties, and still going strong. My grandparents all reached their late eighties. But it will be a life without her.

Whatever the future holds I know this: there will always be a Janet-shaped hole in my heart.

There are 144 comments.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I may be unable to respond to comments today or tomorrow. I’ll be busy making arrangements for her funeral and interment.

    I promise to read all comments and respond when I can.

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Our condolences on your loss.

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Heartfelt condolences, Seawriter.

    • #3
  4. MeanDurphy, Sweat Loaf Member
    MeanDurphy, Sweat Loaf
    @DeanMurphy

    I am so sorry for your loss.  Praying for y’all.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Oh, Seawriter, my heart aches for you. I remember when you had to pull back a bit to care for Quilter during her treatments, and I thought, now there’s a good man. I am so very, very sorry. I will give my husband a big hug and kiss with you and Quilter in mind.

    • #5
  6. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    My heart breaks for you.  I will be praying for you both, and for your family.

    • #6
  7. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    Oh Mark I can only image the depths of your anguish.

    I too am married to my high school sweetheart, and we are in the midsts of trying to decide when to retire and bow out of the rat race and just enjoy each other company. We currently are in good health but your scenario has me troubled.

    My prays for you sir.

    • #7
  8. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Oh, Seawriter, your tribute to your lovely wife makes my heart break along with yours. We are all rich if we are loved like that. God bless you.

    • #8
  9. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    So sorry for your loss Seawriter. My heart aches for you. I practice what your prescribe. Not a day goes by that I neglect to hug, kiss and tell her I love her.

    • #9
  10. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Condolences.

    Seawriter and Quilter.  It reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife’s headstone with their secret names, Beren and Luthien.

    • #10
  11. Bethany Mandel Editor
    Bethany Mandel
    @bethanymandel

    What a beautiful remembrance; I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    • #11
  12. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase
    @JimChase

    As husband to a Janet of my own, my heart breaks for you Seawriter.  Deepest prayers and condolences now and in the days ahead.  I am so very sorry.

    Peace and grace,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    May the lord bless you and keep you, Seawriter – you, and your entire family – in your grief.

    • #13
  14. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    I am so sorry Seawriter, knowing your heart is breaking. Don’t try to respond to all of us, just take your time. Prayers that G-d can bring you some comfort. Giant hugs.

    • #14
  15. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Seawriter, you are a man among men. This loving tribute to your beloved Quilter says more than the aggregate of your words. Your heart is visible and it calls out to those who need to hear your words. Thank you.

    May you feel surrounded by family and friends, real and virtual, in your grieving. Quilter was a remarkable woman and your loss breaks my heart.

    • #15
  16. Nerina Bellinger Inactive
    Nerina Bellinger
    @NerinaBellinger

    I am so sorry, Seawriter.  Very, very sorry.  Your prompt is well-timed as lately my husband and I seem to be going in every direction except towards each other.  You are in my prayers.

    • #16
  17. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Common Citizen
    @tommeyer

    My condolences, Seawriter; the world lost someone beautiful.

    • #17
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Very sorry to hear

     

    • #18
  19. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Seawriter.

    • #19
  20. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif
    @IShotTheSerif

    May her memory be a blessing.

    • #20
  21. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Seawriter – God bless your wife Janet and you as well. You shared together what is good and right about the world – love, marriage, family, sacrifice.

    • #21
  22. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    What a tribute to a wonderful woman ,wife and mother. May she Rest In Peace in God’s hands.

    • #22
  23. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Oh Seawriter.     I’m so sorry for your loss.     Condolences and prayers.

    • #23
  24. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    So deeply saddened to hear this news.  Know you are ‘held’ firmly in my thoughts, especially in these first days of life without her.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I’m praying for you, for Janet, for your family, and for all those whose lives Janet graced.

    • #25
  26. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes the people who don’t want to be noticed are the ones most deserving of notice. My heart hurts for you. We’ll keep you and your family in our prayers.

    • #26
  27. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Sea,

    So very sorry to hear this Sea. She is surely in the next world and brings blessings upon you in her merit.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #27
  28. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    My sincerest condolences.

    • #28
  29. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    I’m sorry I never got to meet Janet.  She sounds like a remarkable person.  You are blessed.  You may not feel like it right now, but you are blessed to have had the opportunity to build a life with such a wonderful person.

    I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    • #29
  30. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Prayers for comfort. May you receive strength to bear such grief. May her memory light your days always. May you be reunited in eternity.

    • #30

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