So the book I have been writing about my husband's death, and life in the aftermath, is finished. It is now in editing, and should be ready for publication for July 13th. One of the sections in the book is called "Words About Don", where I asked a handful of his close friends and family to write up a few words/couple of paragraphs or so, about a memory, or what Don meant to them, or anything they felt like saying about Don Shepherd. I have been receiving the last of these writing pieces over the past few weeks, to be added to my draft. Yesterday, I received one from Don's very best friend - his EMS partner on the ambulance for years out in Florida, and his Best Man at our wedding. This man and his wife drove 24 hours from Florida to New Jersey, on very short notice, to be there at Don's funeral and honor him. They were the kind of friends who felt like and thought of each other as brothers.
His words made me cry immediately. All of it was sad, and all of what he wrote was poignant, but the part where I really lost it with the tears was when he wrote that the saddest day of knowing Don Shepherd, was the day he passed away suddenly. He wrote about receiving my phone call, that Don had collapsed and died from cardiac arrest. He wrote that it was the worst day of knowing Don, and that he was heartbroken beyond words. He also wrote about the day that Don told him he was moving out of Florida and to New Jersey, to be with a woman he had met online. (Me) He said how much he missed him, but how happy he looked to have found love. Reading all of what Don's dear friend said with his words - it brought me back to that awful day, where I had to make a handful of calls to people and keep saying the words "Don died today. Yes, I’m serious. " More than that though, it made me so sad to think about all the other people that lost Don that day too. His sisters, who lost their dear brother. His half-sister, who was just starting to get to know Don over the phone and on Facebook, and who never got to meet him in person. (They had just found out about each other) His many coworkers and colleagues at all of the jobs where he was so well-respected. His musician friends, and his tennis buddy friends. His closest friends on earth - the ones that felt like sisters and brothers to him. The ones he talked about to me all the time.
I cried yesterday for all of those people. So many people lost a great man on the day that he died. So many people knew and loved this wonderful man, and so many people are forever heartbroken and changed somehow, by his death. So many people that he brought joy and laughter to. So many people, who will miss him forever, just like I do.
Loss is universal, and so is love.
They will both be with us forever.