There is a woman sitting on the porch of her home on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly, there are sobs coming out of her. The sobs are silent, only felt by her, but the tears running down her face, are all too real.

I suddenly realize that that woman is none other than me…Kamala! I feel the hot tears on my cheeks. No sound coming out of my mouth, but from the depths of my chest, a feeling that my heart is going to burst from the intense pain.

The day started out the same as most days do. I woke up, made coffee and my customary toast, sat out in the backyard enjoying my breakfast; watching the birds sing and twitter around the trees, bushes, and the various feeders. And watching the monarchs hurriedly, yet gracefully, fly from flower to flower.

Watching butterflies soothes me. And there is a reason for that…for in the beginning soon after he was gone, I would be pulling weeds in the backyard, sobbing, and suddenly a butterfly would materialize out of nowhere. It soothed my aching heart, and since that time, I have always associated it with the thought that it was indeed him in spirit, trying to comfort me. So even today, the sight of a butterfly gives me solace.

Back to today…nothing out of the ordinary…so why the intense feelings of pain and loneliness? Perhaps the fact that in a few days, it will be my birthday? Not an ordinary one, but a landmark – the 70th. Or, perhaps seeing a pair of birds on the fence…a symbol of a couple?

As I sit on the porch, I realize how many changes the house has gone through in his absence. And I know he would be mighty pleased and proud of me. The back yard looks really pretty; he should be here sitting next to me on the swing, perhaps holding my hand? We would be talking about our kids, their spouses, and grandkids-how proud we are of them. We would be making plans to go on our next trip.

Suddenly, reality hits…sadness grips my heart again. God, I miss him!

He was gone a month after he turned 54, so young. He talked incessantly about retiring at 58, and taking trips with me. He talked about seeing all the major tennis tournaments around the world and concentrating on playing the mrdingam, a south Indian percussion instrument which he had taken up just a few years before his passing. Both kids would have graduated from college by then, and our lives would be wonderful, taking us back to 1970 when we were mere newlyweds.

I am saddened that he could not live out this dream of retiring and doing all the things most people dream of post-retirement. He had worked hard all his life, and it was to be his turn to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He lost his father at the tender age of 19, and I know that was a very tragic event in his life. He spoke fondly of his father often. I wish I could have taken away his pain. Back then, little did I know that our own son, soon after his 19th birthday, would lose his father as well.

A phone call brings me back to reality…and the sadness leaves me for the time being, but the sting still remains and I know that my heart will never be whole again!

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