The Eulogy For My Wife, Deanna
My wife didn’t believe in guilty pleasures. She believed that if you loved something, wear it on your sleeve, judgements be damned. She loved Disney with abandon, she loved the mystery of a cheap puzzle she found at the Goodwill — she loved waiting for a book to show up at the library, and she didn’t care about commercial breaks on cable channels when a movie she loved was on. My wife wouldn’t waste any time with a song she didn’t like on the radio — she would rather race back and forth between the dials trying to find something that would put her in a better mood.
Since Deanna has passed, I have this unencumbered view of her life. And when I look at things like her texts and her photos and her messages, I see the things that she loved. I see the memes and images that gave her motivation to get thru the day — and the way she pepped up her friends and family when she thought they needed a boost. I see the pictures of cute animals, dogs, baby turtles, all the adorable things that made her heart hurt. I see pictures of her families from work — I see documents she scanned to meet deadlines, I see samples she sent to them to help them get certified and ready to take on their journey, and I see the pictures from the adoption day events and important days in their lives like Halloween, Christmas and the first day of school, that show the culmination of the hard work she and her families put in together.
And I see a lot of pictures of me and our dogs.
And I get why she loved the posters and the memes, and I get why she loved the animals and our dogs, and I know why she loved her families and everything that she did.
But I don’t understand why she loved me.
I have always been the emotional one in our relationship, she was much more stoic and in control. But she always tried to understand where my feelings came from. When she couldn’t, she encouraged me to go to therapy — and that’ll piss you off, when you think the person you want to spend forever with thinks something is broken about you. But Deanna didn’t see therapy or self improvement as a sign of weakness — she saw it as rebuilding strength. There’s this idea in Japanese art called kintsugi, that involves repairing a broken piece of pottery with gold, filling in the cracks with something sparkly and shiny. Deanna was so excited to learn about this, as it gave her an example of how fixing yourself was not just a sign that you were broken — that it was a sign you could shine.
Deanna moved me to tears in all the ways one could.
One weekend, in the time before we were engaged, during an ABC Family Harry Potter weekend that they dubbed ‘A Potterhead Weekend’, she snapped up to attention and yelled ‘No! That’s our word’. She moved me to tears with laughter.
On the day we got married, after we said I do, and after we were subjected to a photoshoot from the chapel, and after we got the pictures we really wanted at the Bellagio Fountains, we returned to the hotel. I stayed downstairs to have a drink with a friend who’s flight didn’t make it on time for the wedding, and she marched thru the doors of the casino, a frozen drink chained around her neck, her bouquet in her hand, and flicked off her shoes. She marched barefooted to the elevator, without a care in the world. My wife moved me to tears with her confidence.
In May, after we were home for the first part of her recovery, Deanna asked me to take her to the adoption day of a family she had worked with for over a year. She strolled the halls, confidently providing direction to the family, and stood back and beamed and snapped pictures as a family became whole. My wife moved me to tears with her dedication.
And the last time my wife moved me to tears, it was the day she told me she had enough, and told me that it was up to me to make the right decisions for her. My wife moved me to tears with her trust.
My wife was my best friend, and our house was a monument to our friendship, our partnership, our commitment to not be boring in the ways that made me fear commitment before she convinced me that married life didn’t need to be that way. She wanted her puzzles to be on the wall, she wanted our shelves to show off the Avengers box set and Doctor Who Sonic Screwdrivers, she wanted a shelf in our living room to show off our relationship, and she wanted a shelf to show off our dorkiness. On the front of one of those shelves is a row of sticky notes, with a number on the front. On the back is a movie title, one we selected together to get thru the backlog of movies in our Netflix queue. And instead of showing how silly and time consuming our preparation for movie watching is, she wanted people who saw it to see how important it was that we communicated about even the silliest stuff.
Our house changed a lot in the last few months. There were welcome changes, as we upgraded our bed in March to a king sized bed that would have single handedly added tons of happiness to our marriage. But there were the other changes — There was the changes in the shower as a medical chair and hands rails were needed to get her thru basic functions. The kitchen island became cluttered with medicines and cups, and her laundry became stained in different ways as the cancer took over her body. I’ve spent the last few weeks removing the indignities of the cancer from our life, and thinking about what she would have wanted for our lives.
The greatest indignity this cancer has given us is how it’s left the story of Deanna -it leaves her story an unsung song lyric, a half written paragraph, a fragmented puzzle. And we’re left to think of how it should have ended — The notes of the song would have been sung bright and with bravado, the paragraphs of the story a castle of her love and devotion, the finished puzzle, a portrait of an accomplished woman, with a full future in front of her — a woman who loved me more than I deserved.