The conclusion of Adventuresome Fred…unedited…

I stopped writing. My tears clouded my vision, my heart ached at the remembrance of Patty’s last days. She remained strong to the end, I on the other hand, put on a brave face, but I knew it was only a façade.

Prior to having met Patty, I could describe my life as one capacious bad decision. The horrors of my warfighting days followed me home in the form of nightmares, agitation, and full-on rage. Daily, I would get out of bed, pull my sidearm from my holster, look down the barrel and ask myself one question: Why do you still live?

Then, I met Patty, and she changed all that for me. Through the years I considered that maybe God put her in my life. He must have known that I needed a friend to help me through the darkness, and in His wisdom, He sent me Patty.

I can’t begin to describe her influence upon my life. My vocabulary is not large enough to rhapsodize her impact. She led me from the forced isolation of my reclusiveness to enjoying life with another human being. Patty showed me that my children could thrive as long as I made an effort as their dad.

Her absence has altered my life as well. I’ve cried more tears in the past three years, than I ever did over the course of my seventy-five years on this planet. As the world changed, Patty gave me hope that better days loomed on the horizon.

“Everyday is not a bad day, Fred.”

I can hear her whisper this in my ear, every time that I considered using my sidearm to change my fate. My life is less because she is no longer in it.

Better days are coming…

I’ve gnawed on this pipe until my teeth hurt. My eyes hurt from crying so much. “It’s Christmas, Fred. Put on a brave face and go see your children.”

After a quick shower, I changed into my khaki slacks, brown slip-on shoes, a nice flannel shirt, and the last pull over sweater Patty bought me.

“It’s an ugly sweater,” she had said when I wrinkled up my nose at it, “you only have to wear it at Christmas.” And because it was from Patty, I wore it. Even now, I can feel her hug when I wear it.

I drove to my children’s house and shut off my truck. From the large window in the living room, I can see my daughters peeking through the curtains. They won’t come out to check on me, they’re good girls like that. In the silence of my old truck, I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths. I opened my eyes and stepped out of the truck.

My oldest daughter Beth opens the door when I step onto her porch. Tears wet her eyes when she sees my sweater. Her bottom lip quivers as she wraps her arms about my neck.

“It’s okay, daddy. Better days are coming…”

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