In Loving Memory of my husband Greg...
For a while we continued to write to each other as friends in Yahoo chat until one day I plucked up the courage to call Greg and actually talk with him. He loved my Scottish accent even though, as he told me later, he couldn't understand a word I was saying and I loved his Oklahoma drawl. By this time Greg had moved down to Florida and despite the time difference we talked a lot, so when he invited me over for a holiday I made the momentous decision to book my flights and go. Not knowing for sure what I was flying into, I trusted my instincts and my faith in God and took a huge leap of faith. That 3 week holiday turned into three months and by the time I had to leave to return to Scotland we were both deeply in love.
The first movie that Greg and I watched together was “50 First Dates” about a woman who had a brain injury and how she would wake up each morning not remembering anything that happened after her accident. Each day she would start afresh, not knowing the people or things that had happened since the day of her accident. Greg was teaching me in his own way what it would be like to live with someone with a brain injury and how it could affect our relationship. Despite his warnings my heart was committed and I knew that my place was by his side.
During our time apart I wrote a song for Greg and in it I asked him to remember me. In the words of the song “then we parted just as fate had planned, to sort our lives out and to understand, for all our dreams to come to pass for us, we had to leave it in God’s hands”. The words of that song are as meaningful today as they were back then.
Parting at the airport had been hard for us both but it wouldn't be too long until I returned to Florida. We were married on our favorite beach in Melbourne, at sunrise, on Tuesday 11th August 2009. A new chapter had begun and we shared six wonderful years together as husband and wife living in Florida, then Oklahoma before finally settling in Texas. Greg and I made some wonderful friends together and many happy memories.
Greg's love of fishing and boating was known to all who knew him as “Big Fisch”. He had an impressive collection of rods and reels and a fishing tackle box to match. His dream was to own a Pontoon boat and go fishing on the Indian River where we lived in Florida. By the time I returned to America Greg had achieved that dream and not only had a boat but a vehicle to tow it with. A far cry from my first visit where we walked everywhere as we had no transport. Those long walks across the Eau Gallie Bridge in Florida and delightful walks along the beach are ingrained in my memory, not to mention the time that we walked to Melbourne to purchase and struggle to carry home an inflatable dinghy that we spent hours playing with on the Indian River. Oh the escapades that we got into with that inflatable boat! Who knew that we could row that far but then the tide would not allow us to row back and Greg would get into the water and pull the boat and me back to the dock. Two big kids in their 50's playing at being young again!
Greg's willpower and drive to achieve what he set out to do was incredible. When he put his mind to something he got it done. We spent many wonderful hours together out on the water on the boat and he even got me a fishing license so that I could go fishing with him.
One of the stories that I love is when Greg was fishing off the pier at the Condo one night with his friend Brian. He had snagged what he thought was a snook on the end of his line and battled for a long time with his catch. Reeling it in, only for the fish to take the line again as he struggled to hold on to it.Finally, both fish and man exhausted, Greg got his catch close to the pier and he decided to go in after it. As he was peeling off his boots and socks ready to jump into the shallow water, Brian looked over the edge of the pier and saw that it was a baby shark... Well not so much a baby as it had teeth! Lots of teeth! Needless to say Greg let go of the lure and line and let that big fish go.
Greg loved to build furniture and create with his hands. He built our amazing 4 poster rope bed out of timber and ropes the Amish way without a single screw or nail. He told me about the furniture that he had made for his family in Oklahoma before his brain injury. Together we made a stand to display his many guitars and I loved to help him and watch his creative mind as he worked out the logistics of whatever he was designing. He was also an incredibly talented artists and drew the most amazing pictures. Our mutual love of music bonded us and when we moved to Oklahoma to be closer to Greg's family he introduced me to his friends as we joined with them sharing music at the Mustang and Tuttle senior centers, where we would attend regularly. Greg would play guitar and sing, and I would sing as well, for those who would come to listen and enjoy the music. Many wonderful evenings were spent entertaining those who attended and we would rehearse in mom and dad's sun-room in Mustang. We had the full rig, microphone with stands and amplifiers, not to mention a collection of guitars that most musicians could only dream of. We built up quite a large repertoire of songs and Greg and I carried on playing and singing together even when we moved to Texas, often entertaining our neighbors and friends as we played outside on the terrace.
We created a cozy area with comfy garden furniture and a chiminea and spent many wonderful evenings in front of the log fire watching the flames flicker and the stars shining in the clear night sky, talking and sharing our dreams. Greg loved to talk and I loved to listen as he regaled me with his stories. He was quite the story teller and I was fascinated with his life and all that he shared with me. He shared that he felt that he had lived life to the full before his brain injury, when he had the subdural hematoma and almost died. An injury that has a high mortality rate could not take him down. Greg was a fighter and a survivor but we both knew how much damage he had done to his body over the years. He lived with constant pain, his body was ravaged and at times the pain got too much for him. We talked about Greg's ailing health many times and we both knew that we would not grow old together. This was something that I had accepted even before we were married as Greg believed that he only had a short time left to live, but knowing this and living it was very different. I prayed for Greg every day, for God to give us more time together, and I believe that my prayers were answered in the six wonderful years that I had with him.
Unconditional Love is a challenge that most of us can never aspire to. It means letting go of judgments and preconceived ideas of what is right and wrong in a relationship. I loved Greg with all my heart and still do. Letting him go has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do and nothing could prepare me for the intense pain that I feel in my heart at the loss of my partner, my husband, my love, my soul mate. We shared some amazing memories and these are what are helping me through this time of grieving. The laughter and joy that we shared, the music and the fun that we had. The amazing love that we have for one another and the blessing of having met across the miles and having shared this time together. Memories that I will cherish forever. Greg is in God's hands now and I know that he is at peace and no longer in pain. May your memories and kind thoughts of Greg carry you through this time and help to heal your heart as they are mine.
Oh my darling please remember me
Through the emptiness reach out for me
Just look around you and you will see
My love surrounds you so remember me
I love you my darling. Always and forever...
Your Angel Baby, Hazel xx