Five years ago I was in a marriage that was falling apart. I had a husband who was always angry with me and with life, it seemed. Because of what he did for a living, breeding horses, beginning in January of every year, he and the other manager would begin working 7 days per week. This would last until the end of foaling season in early July. I thought then and I still think now that it’s inhuman to ask that of an employee although it provided a decent living and a lovely home. And come July, my husband could work a normal work week. The problem with this lifestyle comes when there is no down time to relax. Throw in the 24 hour on-call nights (3 per week) and it makes for one terribly cranky person. And he was never the happiest person to begin with.
Each January I would begin to notice a change in my husband and it was extremely unpleasant. We argued. We grew apart. There were times that I absolutely dreaded coming home. And finally, in 2004 we decided that we should no longer be together. We’d been planning on waiting until our youngest graduated high school but my husband said he couldn’t take it any longer and wanted out. It was late March of 2004, exactly five years ago this week.
It was cold that morning when I went out to start my car to warm it up for the drive to school for me and my son. In fact, it was freezing. When I opened the door of my car, I was surprised to find a small bouquet of daffodils waiting for me on the armrest. They were wrapped with a tiny rubber band and the yellow blooms were frozen because of the temperature that morning.
They were exquisite.
But I was very surprised to see them. In fact, I was scared. Who in the world would have left me these flowers? I was positive it wasn’t my husband, for obvious reasons. And then I began to think that it might be some creep who worked on the horse farm. It was a disquieting feeling that I had but I didn’t want to be late for school, so I dismissed it.
I drove to work and put the bouquet of daffodils in a vase, still wondering where they came from. And at break time, when I knew he’d be home, I called my husband and asked him. He told me it was he who had picked them for me, saying, "Who did you think it could have been?"
I was shocked.
I thanked him and later that evening he told me he was driving around feeding all the horses and saw the flowers and that they were frozen and really pretty and he thought to himself, “she would really like these.” And so he picked them for me.
Um, yeah. Where did my husband go and who is this alien talking to me?
In the weeks that followed, he continued to be nice. The funny thing was that because of his kindness, I was being kinder to him. One day I came home to a note with lines from a song that just happened to remind him of me, signing it, “Love, your husband”. Life was beginning to be better when we were together and I was actually thinking that maybe this marriage could actually be salvaged.
I had no idea at the time that his behavior had changed due to a tumor that was growing in his brain. And just over a month later, his boss called me to say that he was at the hospital with my husband who had nearly collapsed at work and they were running tests.
And later that day, on May 3, 2004, I found out that my husband had brain cancer.
I thought then that if he hadn’t suddenly begun to be nice to me, it would have made caring for him extremely difficult. But as it was, and because of his newfound kindness, caring for him came very easy to me.
And so, when I see these spring flowers, I’m reminded of an incident that changed my life. I was falling in love with my husband again. And it began with a small bouquet of frozen daffodils on a cold spring morning.
Until tomorrow, my friends . . .
PS ~ Thank you all for your wonderful comments on yesterday’s post about George. I welcome all the new faces here and am so glad you stopped by. This blog has been cathartic for me and your support means so much.