William Garrison’s Love
William Garrison left this world on the morning of February 4, 2017, at the age of 92. As his only son, I’m overwhelmed with a tremendous sadness that will take time to heal. I recognize that this is supposed to be an obituary and that I need to write some kind words about my father’s life. Instead, I will leave you with the words of my dad. I found this letter today in his home that I feel best sums up his life from the man himself.
Today is February 4, 2016, and I buried my wife, Shelly Garrison this morning. The woman who I’ve spent 63 glorious years with is gone. That damn woman went and left me. We always joked about who would go first. She wanted it to be her so she wouldn’t have to live in this world without me. Deep down I didn’t want her to be alone, and so I told her she was right, she was always right. Let me tell you something; I wish it were me that would have gone first because the pain I feel right now is far too much for an old man like me to bear.
From the moment I met her at Jack Murphy’s Christmas party in 1952, I fell in love. My close friends at the time said we looked awkward together and that we wouldn’t work out. I paid no mind to their foolish talk. She had an elegance about her that made any man within proximity to do a double take. She was a stunner up until her final breath. I was the odd prickly fellow who was fortunate enough to win her love. I do believe God intervened on my behalf. I sure as hell didn’t have the charm or the looks.
Being next to her made me matter in this world, and that was all I needed. Having just lowered her in the ground, I’m reminded again of how awkward I am without her. In the eyes of many, I will be a sad old man, and they will pity me. I won’t blame them for that. The glimmer of each new day won’t sparkle the same way without my Shelly. The inside jokes we shared will go left unsaid. Walks will feel less intimate without holding her hand, and her warm breath on my neck as we slept, will no longer calm me.
It seems that I lost a great deal today and in some respects that is true. However, I will hold my head high because I shared the majority of my life with one of God’s treasures. I will do my best to carry on without my sweetheart. It will not be easy, but we said our love was forever and that is what I will hold on to until that next life.
My mother was everything to my father. He would often tell me that the man he was had everything to do with my mom. They may have seemed like opposites to those around them, but their love for each other is what people admired and enjoyed being around. I’m honored to call them my parents and to have watched their love story up close. I’m grateful that they are together again, sharing inside jokes and holding hands.