As many of you know, my husband Derrick died in 2017. And as you may have also gathered from my social media post, I have a new person in my life – Bill. While I do share our adventures, I rarely talk about how this relationship came to be. But this morning, it showed itself in the simplest of conversations that most people would not understand how much I appreciate having.
Our friend Marc sent Bill a link on Facebook this morning, letting him know that the Elgin store has new owners, and will be reopening in 2020. This little store has been a favourite for dirt bikers over the years, offering a convenient gas and lunch stop. When it closed, it left behind some sad riders.
Bill mentioned in passing his message from Marc, and I instantly thought about Derrick. I immediately began to share another Derrick story, with Bill. One day a few years ago, when Derrick had returned from a day of riding, he mentioned he had stopped in Elgin for lunch with the gang. “ Ohhhh,” I said, “what did you have to eat?” He told me he had the best burger and fries and laughed. I proceeded to tell him he had just broken a seven-day vegetarian streak. To his astonishment, I had secretly been preparing 100% plant-based meals for over a week. He had not noticed! Bill giggled at my story. This conversation was followed up by tears streaming down my face and me just saying “poof” over and over again.
From time to time, it hits me that people you love disappear with no warning, ‘poof – and they are gone.’ Bill has become the witness to this sadness on many occasions. But never have I felt that I can’t still love Derrick. Bill had never met Derrick, but at this point, he could probably tell you a few Derrick tales himself.
Over the past couple of years, our relationship has changed, and he has become a more significant part of my life and the life of Derrick’s friends. They, too, have welcomed Bill into their community, and when we find ourselves having a Derrick moment – he witnesses our joy and grief without a word.
I am grateful today for the people in my life, like Bill, that chose to witness me gently moving forward. That’s all I need most days – a witness.