On Feb 25, 1955, the love of my life was born. She was given the name Rosemarie Dawn Archer. She lived 40 years. She was in her 41st year when she died. That was the day that my heart got a hole so big in it that you could drive a tractor trailer through it and even after 20 years (this year on November 11) that hole is still there. Nothing and no one can fill it. They say that no matter what you think, you only get one true soul mate. Rose was mine.
We met at a bible study in 1979. She was shy and quiet. She was sweet and cute and she made my heart skip a beat. We went to see the movie Jesus and sat beside each other. I took her hand in mine and we sat like that the rest of the movie. We started dating and I fell in love. We went to the same church and we were almost inseparable.
We moved in together in 1980. We were happy and truth be told, she was my first. We lived in this basement apartment that I constantly hit my head on the pipes. One day when she was sick I proposed. I was on my knees peeling potatoes and she was on her third cup of hot chocolate. She came out of the living room and asked for more. I took the cup and asked her if she would marry me. She giggled and said yes and went back to the living room. A few minutes later she came back and asked me if I had proposed and I said yes and that she had said yes and she skipped back to the living room and got on the phone to tell her sisters.
August 29th, 1981 at 12 Noon the wedding took place at Knox Flox Presbyterian Church in Crossland Ontario. It was so black that we were sure that it was going to storm and make it miserable but the rain stayed away till after the wedding and a few pictures were taken before the reception. It is a day I will never forget. Some of the names are foggy but the sight of seeing her walk down the aisle brought me to tears. I was about to marry the love of my life.
We had our honeymoon at the Barrie Continental Inn and it was a wonderful time. I even carried her across the threshold. We started on a journey that would take us from living in Toronto, to moving back to Barrie. From cheating on each other to fixing it and realizing that we couldn’t live without each other. We went through a battle to keep our apartment and won. We went through a number of landlords and finally got one we liked.
In 92 my dad died and I got the call from Rose and I cried, not for long but I did cry. He was my father and even though I was not his biggest fan, I had enough respect for him to cry. A week later I was at my church’s office and I was trying to fix their computer when I got another call from Rose that they had found something wrong with her blood.
That started a 3 and half year battle with Leukemia. Inside I wanted to scream but on the outside I had to show strength cause I knew that Rose would need me to lean on. She was strong but knew that she had me to hold onto and I was her sounding board, her slapping post. More than once she hit me not cause she was mad at me but because she needed to release some tension and some anger. I was there for that, not because I was a wimp but because that is what a husband is suppose to do.
I held her hand while she went through chemo. I was there when she had to spend time at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for a few weeks. I would go down and stay at their family building, free of charge, and be able to see her. She was despondent one day that she wanted to die. I was very honest with her. I told her that if she wanted to die then she best get on with it and get it over with but that while she did that she should think about her family and me. How that would make us feel and that I would be alone. A week or so later, she was out of isolation and in a normal room. No more gowns and gloves.
She was to going home soon and I couldn’t wait for her to come home. I was so tired of sleeping alone and not hearing her snore beside me. Yes it’s true, if you just hold on, the snoring becomes normal background noise that is so important to your life. We spent the night in the guest services building and had one of the rooms to ourselves. We made love for the first time in weeks and it was wonderful. We cried and laughed and enjoyed each other.
The next morning she noticed little white spots on her body. What we thought was Host vs Graft disease, turned out to be chicken pox. That was on a Tuesday. On Saturday November 11 1995 at 11:20ish PM I got the call from the hospital. The love of my life was gone. All that strength I had had crumbled and I was standing in the kitchen stark naked and I screamed. I cried out and I was crushed.
I was surrounded by family and friends. We had the viewing, closed casket, and we talked about her. All the time all I wanted to do was crawl in the casket with her. To be cremated with her so we could spend the rest of eternity together. As far as I was concerned, my life was over. I had no reason to live anymore.
Rose was my world. I have to admit that I loved her more than I loved Jesus. I woke up to her every morning and went to bed with her every night. We made plans and even went through adoption proceedings only to have them dashed when she was diagnosed. It killed me to tell her that we had to stop them. Maybe we should have kept going. Maybe I would have had the child I had always wanted.
That was then this is now. For twenty years I have, in one way or another, mourned the loss of my love. The woman that I gave my heart to and my virginity. She held me and smacked me. Loved me and hated me. Made love with me and we enjoyed each other. Through it all, if I had to do it all again I would in a heartbeat. I would go through it all again if it meant I could have Rose back.
She was my 4 foot ten and half inch dynamo that loved her friends and family. She loved her husband more and even through all the trouble, she was happy. One day I know that she will be in my arms once more and that we will be together for the rest of time.