According to the metrics from the WordPress website which hosts all of the Libby’s Living Legacy stories, most people who read these posts only see the current issue but the following link will give you access to every post, that is, if you care to scroll down through the long list: https://libbyslivinglegacy.com/.
Soon after Libby’s memorial service I began writing about our relationship, beginning with our first date. The process of writing and the resulting stories served dual purposes: altruistically, as a gift to our grandchildren and selfishly, for their therapeutic value to me; both purposes have been accomplished and I really appreciate the encouragement, notes and letters.
Libby was always a sucker for a Hallmark love story movie, so as recompense for watching sports with me, I suffered through more than my fair share of the one and a half hour, happily-ever-after, chick flicks.
One movie in that genre was entitled Love Comes Softly which was released in 2003 based on the book by the same name from author Janette Oke. The Christian themed movie quickly became Libby’s favorite and the release of each new movie sequel (and few prequels) was an event not to be missed in our home. Set in the 19th century as the West was being homesteaded, the original movie had a predictable plot centered around a widow and a widower whose relationship begins to develop because of their common loss and their need for survival. During one memorable part of the movie, the widower’s 5-year-old daughter notices that her dad’s grief has slowly subsided and as he begins to enjoy life with his new family she comments, “My Daddy got his laugh back”.
Every couple, I am sure has them, those quirky sayings shared with one another which make absolutely no sense to others because they weren’t privy to the back-story. I am confident the same thing happens in many relationships just like it did between Libby and I because after watching a movie together, one of us would repeat a line from the movie, so many times in fact, over the next few weeks, that it became woven into a our daily vocabulary. For instance, Libby would often talk about a friend who had been mourning and say, ” I sure hope she gets her laugh back”.
Thirty five years of marriage changes a person, for better or worse (pun intended). Each person’s individual beliefs, goals, temperament and even personality are melded together and both parties eventually assume different (hopefully better) beliefs, goals, temperament and personality. Those quirky little sayings shared by a couple are as much a part of this new life as the first day of school or the first time you sang in front of the church. Some of us who “married up” as they say, were blessed to be in a relationship in which the benefits received from the relationship far outweighed the benefits given and the subsequent changes are monumental.
Several weeks before Libby died we were discussing how much we both have grown and changed in our relationship with each other, she was thinking more and more about her future, our boy’s future and my future. Libby worried about our boys and how they were they going to be able to handle the loss of their mother; that’s when Libby looked at me and said, “I’m sorry that I will not be around for our boys, but I am also sorry that I will not be around to grow old with you……”
My response to her melancholy dialogue was to try to get her to talk about something else, so I jumped in with, “Now, Libby, don’t be talking like that….you’re not going anywhere for a long time….” . But this time Libby stopped me in mid sentence and continued her thought by asking, “……I wonder how long it will take……..after I am gone……..before you to get your laugh back…….?”
6 thoughts on “Epilogue”
Your sarcasm, quick wit and sense of humor hasn’t changed since 1st grade. And Libby’s sweetness, shyness and funny awkwardness in an outdoor game of Red Rover still makes me laugh. I am sitting here looking at an 8th grade picture of you and Libby proudly posing for your 8th grade superlative award – Most Likely To Succeed. I have been digging through boxes and boxes of paper (yes, I am a hoarder) to find the notebook of “Ten Questions You Have to Answer Before Class is Over” that was secretly passed out to all the girls in class in 8th grade in which two of the questions were something along the lines of:
1. Who do you think is the cutest boy in 8th grade?
2. If you had to get married in 8th grade who would you marry?
I’m sorry to say that Libby did not put your name on number one but she did put your name on number 2!!!!! And that was in 8th grade!
And I just laughed out loud at the vivid picture in my head of Libby sitting in class with at least 10 to 15 tiny spitballs stuck and hanging from her long brown hair (we didn’t actually spit on them but just rolled them up tiny enough to flick them at her). And as soon as class was over she would be in the hallway giving us that LOOK and yelling, “Carolyn, Kim, Barry, Luke – get over here and help me get these out of my hair’.” After that we would all go laughing out the door and to the cafeteria where she would always pay me back by asking me for my cookie!
So many fond and laughable memories. Speaking of laughable, I am sitting here looking at the picture of you in 1st grade…….nuff said.
Thank you Carolyn, it has been a long time! Thanks for the note but I am a little disappointed that I wasn’t number one on her list. I guess it took me a while to get that accomplished.
Thanks again for the comments.
I have really enjoyed reading your posts from Libby’s Living Legacy. Thank you so much for sharing from your experiences and from your heart. I’m so glad to see that you seem to be “getting your laugh back”. I will continue to say a prayer for you as the Lord brings you to mind.
May God continue to bless you and your family,
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Thanks Sherri, I am glad you enjoyed reading them. It was fun to remember some of those things and much cheaper than therapy.
Hope you have your laugh back, Barry! Thanks again for sharing! Sandy Martin
This story has brought tears and smiles. I knew and loved Libby through school and teaching together. She was a precious person and as nearly perfect as anyone I ever knew. I am so sorry for the emptiness you have in your heart. But you have a beautiful memory and you can treasure that. This is a wonderful book and it deserves to be published. I have read every chapter and enjoyed it all. Your grandchildren will treasure it. May God bless you and all your family. Deanna McNabb