Unreturning days

It has been now longer than six long months since my Little Lady passed on to the paradise that she strongly believed in. She was a believer. She feared neither God nor death. During the latter four years of her life, contrary to my hopes, she knew, within her heart, that it was a battle that she, and the medical profession, were not going to win.
She worried more about me, and my care, than she worried about herself. She spent hours daily teaching me the things that she knew I would find necessary to meet the challenges of my life alone. She taught me well – how to cook, do laundry, make beds, and the general daily routine of just living. She taught me how to bypass the lonely times that were bound to envelope. “Just keep busy, think of our good times.” And she joked, “Or I’ll come back to haunt you.” She added, “If you need help, just ask your neighbours.” I have, and they have. Similar so to the archives of small town living, I seldom find it necessary to make a second request.
It has been just on the slight side of 60 fast passing years since I crossed a dead end Guelph  street with a stolen polished red apple in my hand, to meet the broad, double dimpled, rosy cheeked, lipstickless smile with which she greeted each and every one. Friend or stranger, throughout her life, there was no hesitation or variation. Every one of those years she and I have spent  the yearly Christmas gatherings together. I am flooded now with only memories of those unreturning days of happiness, and too, days of incredible sadness, which we undoubtedly shared, she and I, together.          
There were days of joy and those of complete heartbreak. But each day of my life was made better because of her positive attitude and knowing approach. She spent no time in fretting over the things she could not change. The things that she could change, she hesitated not for a moment in so doing. She possessed a unique intuitive, almost mystic, perception of how each and every situation, whether breathtakingly happy or devastatingly disturbing, should be approached. It  was  second nature to her. She loved and was loved by far more than many, and disliked by absolutely no-one.
Though she was small in stature she was mighty in both mind and muscle. There was a time in the early years of our life together, though I hate to admit it, that we would wrestle, in play, and she could pin me; my shoulders pressed firmly against the grasses of our lawn. This was during our pre-children years, while country living, in an old farmhouse, situated far back from the road. Both she and I, filled with adult desires and childhood memories, enjoyed running naked in the rain. Often we showered in the softened waters that trickled from the rooftop down-spout. She enjoyed to the fullest all the simple things in life, demanding no more, and nothing less, than that which nature gave freely.
Her strong stamina and determination showed, too, as unmovable as the proverbial little red brick, with the loss of our oldest and youngest sons, two and one half years apart, in two freak, but fatal, accidents. The first, the oldest, just newly wed, at 26 years, a car. The second, at 17 years, a snowmobile. I was a basket case, she was a pillar of stone. She had the will power, to stop the world, if she should so desire, but her strong faith, and rational thought, catered to life going on. There is absolutely none as unique as my one and only, “Eunice Jean,” better known to all of you readers, for nigh onto 25 years, as “My Little Lady.”
And I know, too, that she as I, being from the old school, unconsciously unmoved by  the craze of so-called political correctness, would  want  to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, any and all of you and yours, who showered us both with your prayers, help, and your kindness. So consider yourselves hugged by both she and me, and be sure and have a good old fashioned “Merry Christmas” and a God blessed, happy, healthy, and exciting, coming New Year.  Take care, ’cause we care.

Barrie Hopkins