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The Last Time I Ever Saw His Face

Terry D. Bilhartz

The day was December 9, 2014. My husband, Terry, and I were on our way back from a Disney World trip with family, and I was feeling particularly symptomatic with my MS. My legs felt like jelly and were so weak that I truly wondered how I would make it home, since I had to travel cross-country from Florida to California.

In retrospect, I will always believe that Terry’s life force was slowly beginning to leave his physical body, and that my extreme weakness was a connection to his upcoming transition. Even though neither of us knew it at the time.

At the Houston airport, our plan was that Terry and I would say “goodbye” there.  He would get in the car and drive to Huntsville. I would await my plane to Sacramento. We were both eagerly anticipating his return to California 6 days later on Dec. 15. (For more details on why we were going to 2 different destinations, please read my blog of January 26, 2015, “Time Is An Illusion.”)

However, the last time that I saw Terry in his physical body was in the Houston airport on December 9. (For more details on my husband’s passing from earth to eternity on December 12, 2014, see my blog of December 18, 2014, “It’s a Wonderful Life: Relish the Remarkable Ride.”)

The two of us often joked that we had a similar relationship with each other as did the protagonists in O. Henry’s story “The Gift of the Magi.” In this magical story about giving and receiving, the husband sold his prized pocket watch in order to buy expensive combs for his wife’s beautiful long hair. At the same time, the wife cut her breathtaking hair and sold it so that she could buy her husband a platinum chain for his esteemed pocket watch.  Even though they were left with gifts that they now could no longer use, they realized that the love they had for each other was priceless.

In a similar way, Terry and I found ourselves frequently trying to offer a gift to each other that would lessen the other’s burden, even if it diminished our own comfort. At the airport, he wanted to make sure that I was resting at my gate with food before he left. I, on the other hand, wanted him to get on the road before rush hour traffic got too bad.

This time Terry won out, and he helped to get me food and a place to rest while awaiting my plane. Finally, he began to pack his things up at my insistence so that he could head home.  We both were a little tearful when we embraced goodbye. We had experienced such a good time together on the trip that it was hard to let that “togetherness” go.

As I then settled into my airport seat to eat, about 30 seconds later I felt the urge to look behind me in the direction that he was walking. At that same split second, Terry turned his head to look in my direction and our eyes met. It was a beautiful moment.

His eyes. Forever indelibly etched into my memory.

I am acutely aware that I am one of those blessed earthly individuals who shared a love that was unique and everlasting. A love that nurtured my body, mind, and soul.  A love that I want to pass on to others.

Who might be in your life that you feel a similar connection to? Someone you would want to love unconditionally? With abandon and without restraint?

It could be a family member or even a co-worker. You might have multiple persons to share that love with. Maybe it is even with yourself.

That doesn’t mean that you will do it perfectly. But, with a measure of commitment, you can aspire to luscious living, immeasurable grace, and unparalleled loving-kindness.

Remember Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying”?  Let’s do it!  Let’s all live like we are dying.

Because we are. Every day. Every moment. Each of us is one step closer to eternity.

What are we waiting for?

What is one way that you could live like you are dying? We’d love to hear it!

Comments (5)

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    Betty

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    I loved reading this Patty. Thanks for sharing such a special time and your and Terry’s special love.

    Reply

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    Linda Bannick

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    Patty, This “picture” in time with you and Terry turning and seeing each other is even spiritual. Your love is like the O’Henry story completely…overwhelming, unconditional, giving, sacrificial and forever. It’s a special story that I learned years ago and have seen it in you and Terry. Thanks for this message. We treasure this love. Love you. Linda

    Reply

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      Patty Bilhartz

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      I love and appreciate your precious words. Have a beautiful evening.

      Reply

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    Liana

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    So beautiful, Patty. Thank you for sharing this very touching story.

    Reply

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      Patty Bilhartz

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      Blessings to all of you! Thanks for sharing this moment with us!

      Reply

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