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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.