Every time in the last few months that I voiced apprehension about going on alone, Marv would simply say, “You’ll do fine.”

It’s a month today that he passed away around four in the morning on July 25. I cannot describe the last month in any coherent way. But the recurring theme in my head has been “You’ll do fine.” Even after I broke the garbage disposal, forgot to take in the mail for the first three days, and neglected to put out the garbage. The first cost me a two-hundred dollar visit from a plumber, the second surprised me with a letter from the IRS that cost a few thousand (due to a miscalculation), and the third cost me a fifty-dollar visit from Stan Clean-a-Can because my garage smelled like a city dump. I could not have that stench as I was expecting over thirty out-of-town guests for dinner the night before Marv’s Celebration of Life Service on August 11.

As I took in each event (catastrophe at that point, really), I reminded myself, “You’ll do fine.”

Then, a week before the service, I broke out in a bright red rash on my face. Why now? After a next-day doctor’s appointment, I was relieved to find out the culprit was probably a SPF 40 sunscreen I’d used on my first day at our pool all summer. Antibiotic cream cleared the rash up…and also wiped out the color on the edges of my new pretty blue sheets and pillowcase.

Take a deep breath, Lois, you’ll do fine.

Three days before the service, I had a routine teeth cleaning and a filling fell out. The dentist had no time to refill all that week. But they worked me in for a temporary.

Take a deep breath, Lois, you’ll do fine.

Then people began arriving for the service. Marv had told many on our Farewell Hug Tours not to come–he had come to them to say good-bye, so I was in for a heartwarming surprise when there were over seventy of us to process into church to the majestic organ sounds of Ode to Joy.

My daughter orchestrated the food for the weekend, starting with the gang on Friday night, then Saturday night, and Sunday noon. She’d baked her usual goodies–fruitcake and oatmeal raisin cookies (Marv’s favorites), and other sweets, ordered pulled pork with all the sides, and used up left overs from the dinner after the Celebration of Life Service where the funeral home had arranged catering of roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, and corn, while the church women added apple pie and ice cream.

The tables at the church were decorated with John Deere green napkins and the centerpiece was a cut apple display honoring Marv’s apple picking and applesauce-making hobby. I’ve heard Darlene from church was responsible for that personal touch. Thanks, Darlene!

After Marv’s service, my son and daughter-in-law stayed as their son and my grandson got married in the area the following Saturday. My daughter-in-law paid tribute to Marv with decorating the tables for rehearsal dinner with items from his John Deere collection. The couple being married honored Marv with having the grandparents walk into the sanctuary to his favorite song, also sung at his service, “I come to the garden alone…” As I walked down the aisle on my grandson’s arm, I unsuccessfully fought back tears.

Then everybody left. But not before my son walked me through all the paperwork new widows must do, made me a new desk for my study, and installed new faucets in my master bath. My daughter-in-law discovered a new skill–unscrewing and taking apart the joint desks that Marv had made for us when we moved to Sioux Falls two years ago. I no longer need adjacent work stations.

There’s much more that has happened in the last month. But my mind is in a muddle, so the rest will have to trickle out when it trickles. Meanwhile, I will shop this afternoon for a new desk chair to go with my new desk (a replica, by the way, of a desk Marv made for our daughter years ago–a white melamine 8′ x 30″ board placed on two-drawer file cabinets), and a new set of pots and pans. Now that I must cook for myself, my son says I need new ones. Seems his dad nearly wore out our current set, but being thrifty as he was, probably saw no reason to replace. They still work, right?

So, I’m moving forward because time doesn’t stop for me. I must take each day as it comes. Yesterday was a visit to the zoo with my daughter and little grandchildren. My daughter suggested this picture; I must learn to fly with new wings.

Take a deep breath, Lois. You’ll do fine.