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Wish You Were Here

Yes, the blog has been quiet. I’ve been tied up doing a lot of reading for my classes. I’m pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in writing, but the real reason is that I’ve dedicated much of my energy to healing from my wife’s death.

It’s not exactly been entirely productive.

I HAVE made progress trying to deal with my grief over the last fifteen months, but there are times and places that still trip me up, especially when I start feeling like I’ve got a handle on this. Last night was a very, very trippy night. Eddie Izzard is British and a comedy genius. Those two ideas don’t often occupy the same space, but in Eddie’s case, it’s not only true, it’s obvious.


To enjoy Izzard’s comedy, you have to know stuff. He references history, religion, philosophy, and culture. His improvisations are lightening quick. He is able to associate the most divergent ideas in the most observant of ways. He is fluent in English, French, and German. In other words, the burden of keeping up is on you. If he were a musician, he would play jazz. Every performance is its own masterpiece.

Carole and I loved watching Izzard on TV when we could find him. Last night I saw him live, in Fresno, California of all places. This man’s comedy tour has toured 27 countries, but last night he performed in Fresno, and my seat was not in the front row, it was in front of the front row. It is called “pit” seating, and Eddie was maybe 15 feet from me at all times. It was a personal performance, and it made me exceptionally sad.

You see having my wife sit next to me so close to Eddie would have been a bucket list item. It would have been one of those moments that she would turn to me and say “I love you for doing this.” She said this to me often, but mostly during the 1,224 days I was her caregiver while we fought her cancer. I miss those special, but more mundane events I could have given her. By no means is an Eddie Izzard performance mundane, but it is not a middle-of-the-night-gotta-call-the-hospice nurse occasions that cost her so much comfort and me so many hours of precious sleep.

In a righteous world, I would have turned and seen her laughing. I would have put my arm over her shoulder, squeezed her, and shared her joy. We would have been one.

While Eddie made me laugh until I cried, I cried every time I laughed because she should have been by my side. I know that life is not fair, but damn, this was the perfect place to see her smile and hear her laugh. Getting to sit so close to Izzard’s genius only made me aware how far away she is.


All of the anti-depressants, sleeping pills, therapy, and prayer in the world cannot replace her. I do not understand why she was not by my side on what would have been our perfect night.

Eddie, you were perfect, you were better than I imagined you could be.

Life has not.




4 Responses to “Wish You Were Here”

  1. Linda Barker says:

    Thank you for sharing your blog. You are a gifted writer and your words touched me. My 84 year old husband has dementia and every day seems a little sadder for us. The friends we’ve loved for decades still love us, but who wants to socialize with a couple when one doesn’t know what day it is. I feel so lonely at times. If this challenge isn’t enough my 41 year old beautiful daughter has been battling a rare ovarian cancer for ten years. One stupid oncogist gave her two years. Six surgeries and numerous ongoing chemo treatments have devasted her family financially. I asked her family to share our home two years ago. My late is so full, but I try to keep everyone going. Add a moody 14 year old boy to this group and bless my soul I try to hang on. I finally started going to counseling last week. I find amusement at the comment the therapist said to me, “Linda, you are trying to juggle a feather, a bowling ball. a bouquet of flowers and a kitten all at once. No one can do that.” I find reading about other peoples struggles helps get me strong. If they can do it I can too. Thanks for writing. So many people share our nightmares. One day at a time. Linda Barker-68 year old retired teacher

  2. John Biek says:

    Dear Bob,
    Thank you for your words in the July 11th Bee.
    John Biek … caregiver

    • Nancy V.Parksion says:

      Thank you for your words. My husband passed way July 7, 2015 due to prostate cancer. I am so heart broken and lonesome. I have children and support but I still lost my partner of 56 years. I am trying to understand grief but I believe there is no under standing this kind of pain. Just taking it one day at a time.I admire you for caring for your wife. I understand just going on to the next day. I read your article in the Fresno Bee today and thank you.

  3. Lavonne Snyder says:

    Read your voice in today’s Bee. I was saddened by your loss, yet uplifted by your love story written so beautifully and with such honesty. Thank you.

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