When my husband’s aunt, Helen Knox passed away on January 11, 2017 at the good old age of 99 years, her passing left her soul mate, Uncle Frank Knox to carry on alone…at least in that the love of his life was not longer with him. Of course, his sons are still here, and his grandchildren, one of whom I have had the great privilege of getting to know over Facebook since her grandmother’s passing. Yesterday morning, it was Frank’s granddaughter, Kate West who passed along the sad news that Uncle Frank had gone to Heaven to join his sweet wife, Helen. My thoughts immediately went back to the times that Frank and Helen came for visits, and what wonderful and interesting people they were. I wanted to write a tribute to Frank about the times I remembered, but then I read about Kate’s memories, and…well, I hope she won’t mind if I take a chapter from her Lifebook for this story. Her memories are so sweet and so thoughtful, that it became very clear to me and to anyone who read her words, that her grandfather was very, very special to her. Nothing I could have said could even begin to compare to the words of his Kate…or to those of her dad, Greg Knox, who told me that the date of Frank’s passing was the same date he and Helen married, just 71 years later. That is a very special day to Frank and Helen.
While Kate is very sad that her grandfather is gone, she is glad that he is with her grandmother again. They had lived long and happy lives, with 71 of those years lived as husband and wife. When her grandmother passed away, Kate found herself distressed because her grandfather was now without his other half. For Kate, the connection she and her grandpa had was the closest relationship she had with any of her grandparents. Part of the reason is that Frank and Helen lived with Kate’s family for 4 years, from the time Kate was 8 until she was 12. Helen was a little more quiet than her husband was. Frank was always very outgoing, and that made him easy to get to know. The relationship Kate had with her grandfather reminds me of the relationship I had with my Uncle Bill Spencer. Kate’s grandpa, or maybe her dad, taught her the game of cribbage, like my uncle did with me. After that playing cribbage became a ritual. The family used to go camping, and it always seemed to rain, at least one day of the trip. That was all it took for Kate and Frank to get out the cribbage board and pass the time in the friendly rivalry that cribbage always is. Those are the memories that will last Kate for the rest of her life…the memories that will keep her grandfather in her thoughts. She won’t pass a cribbage board without thinking of their games, or hear the rain without thinking of her grandfather. He will always live in her heart, as he will in the hearts of all of those who loved him.
Having moved to Spokane, Kate didn’t get to see her grandfather as often during those last years, and while she feels the regrets that come from a busy life and the difficulty distance brings to staying in touch, I can tell her that for her grandfather, the memories of the fun times with his cribbage partner kept a smile on his face, and she lit up his day with the love that showed on her face for her grandfather. While we may not realize what a huge impact we have of the life of another, they know it. Those around us who care about us, are the bright lights in our lives. That’s what Kate was to her grandfather. Uncle Frank will be greatly missed by all of us, who loved him. We look forward to seeing you again in Heaven, Uncle Frank.
When you’re young, you look for certain traits in a man, but I think that most of us probably look for many of the wrong traits. It’s not that we don’t choose good men, but simply that we choose men for the wrong reasons. As a teenager, I looked for a guy that was cute and one that had a nice personality. That is how most dating starts, but if cute and a good personality is all he has, you are going to get bored pretty fast, and it will be a good thing that you did. We look for men who have the same interests as we do, because they have a nice car, or because they take us nice places. These are not bad traits either. Trying to date on a bicycle is pretty tough, and if he doesn’t take you out anywhere or you have nothing in common…again, you are going to get bored pretty quick. It’s important to look for someone who believes the same as you do…someone who is going somewhere in life…someone with the same values and goals as you have. Those are important traits…right?
Well, they are, but you really need to look a little further down the road than that short term, madly in love, your are so handsome, I can’t breathe without you, passion, because while those things are truly important, Those things are going to fade later in life. That man who was so perfect, so handsome, who took your breath away…is going to get older. He might lose all that hair that you loved, or suddenly have lots of wrinkles. After living with him for 30 plus years, you have seen it all…his good habits, bad habits, and horrible habits. He is maybe a little more flabby, and you have discovered that you can indeed breathe when he is not with you. I heard it said once, that “what you lack in spontaneity, you make up for in consistency” and you find yourself thinking just how true that is. Do you still love him? Well, the answer for me is an overwhelming, “Yes!!”
So what traits should we be looking for, or hoping we stumble into, since most of us at the time of our marriage are too love struck to think clearly enough to look for the right traits in a man? I’ll tell you what I have found out. When you take those vows, and the minister says, “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part”, it may or may not mean your sickness or health, or for better or worse in your own lives, or even your finances. I’m sure most people only think of it in those terms, but as we age…while we may get weaker or look a little worse for wear, it is likely, first to be our parents who will be weak or sick, and that is when those vows really come into play. That is when the traits that you thought were so important will begin to seem like silly school girl ideas of Prince Charming.
It is the man who sticks with you when you have to give time to others in need, and doesn’t complain because he is home alone while you take care of those things…the man who gets up at 3 in the morning because a parent has fallen and you have to go pick them up…and then he has to get up, as do you and go to work in the morning…the man who doesn’t complain about helping in the care of an elderly parent, even if it means eating late, and falling asleep in your chairs, watching television…the man who helps out around the house, and doesn’t mind if it isn’t spick and span, because you have been too busy cleaning your parents homes…yes, it’s that man that I want in my life. He is the one who may not have known about all this stuff when he married you, but as time went on and things changed in your lives, he stuck with you…worked with you…walked with you, through it all That is the kind of husband a woman really wants if she thinks about it. And, that is the husband I got when I married Bob, 39 years ago today. I was young and couldn’t have seen those traits in him if I had tried. I was too busy looking at things like how cute he was, how much we had in common, what a great car he had, and the fact that he took me places. I was too busy trying to catch my breath when he was around, and missing him horribly when he wasn’t. So, like most women who are still married after all these years, all I can do is thank God for bringing this wonderful man into my life. That is the only way it could possibly be that we are here, today, celebrating 39 years and counting, even after all that life has handed us. I love you Bob…more and more every year, every month, every day, every minute and every second. You are my one and only, my soul mate, the love of my life. I thank God for you every day. I am so blessed to be married to you. Happy 39th Anniversary, Honey!! I will always love you!!
It was 36 years ago today, that I said “I do” to my friend and soul mate. It seem like it was only yesterday. Many people, friends and family alike, never expected our marriage to last, but we beat the odds. Oh we had our fights, like every marriage, but they just didn’t mean anything. Bob is the love of my life. I can’t imagine ever being with anyone else.
Bob and I love to spend time together doing our favorite thing, hiking. It is so nice to be able to just get away from everything and be in nature, enjoying the quiet sounds of nature, away from all the traffic and city noises. We don’t even have to talk, because we can commune with each other without words. It seems like it was that way from the very start with us. So connected that we didn’t have to talk to know what the other was thinking.
As the years have gone by, our lives have been so richly blessed. Our daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren have filled our lives with joy and happiness, and lots of activity. We are so blessed that they have chosen to stay right here and raise their families near us. There is just something about being able to see your kids and grand kids often that makes your life richer.
Bob has been the best thing to happen in my life. I wouldn’t trade one minute of our life for anything. These 36 years have flown by, and I know the rest of our lives will do the same, sadly, because when you love someone, you want the time to slow down so you can enjoy it more. Happy Anniversary Honey!! I will always love you!!