My second wife died on her 21st birthday. I was twenty-four and we had a daughter who was 10 months old. Sometimes, I wonder how my life would have been if that day had never happened. One day would have made all the difference.
I would have taken her to the hospital the night before when she complained of the severe headache. I had kidded her by humming the tune to “Love Story”. When we went to bed, I asked her if she wanted to have sex…she laughed, but said no way in hell! I went to work in the morning and later in the day she called and said she couldn’t feel her legs. I called my mother and asked her to take care of the baby, I would be right home. By the time I got home, she was in convulsions. I called 911, but it was too late. We went to the hospital and I spent the next four hours wondering what was going on. She died. It was a brain aneurysm.
I think about that time and about that day often, as I grow old. I wonder how my life would have been if she had been saved or never gotten ill. We would have been happy. She was the only other person in my life who loved me unconditionally, the other being my Finnish Grandmother. We would have had more children; our next daughter would have been called Sarah. Our son would have been called the same as my current son, by my third wife, a wife I would have never had, nor ever divorced. I think we would have moved to the town my in-laws lived. We would have been close. We would probably have lived in one place for the last 40 years. Our children would have graduated from the same high school their mother did. We would have had roots. It would have been a wonderful life. If only that day had not happened. Thirty-seven years later, I still cry.
Did I mention that little daughter we had? I let her mother’s parents adopt her at age seven. I have not seen nor heard from her since. Thirty seven years later, I still cry.