While my children have always had all of my heart, my Cowboy Husband was the man I loved most in my life. I met him the year my parents made me stay out of the circus and make my debut. My family was at a dude ranch in Wyoming for a month that summer and two other girls and I would drive into a little town about 20 miles from the ranch on Saturday nights. It was a former copper mining town with board sidewalks and 3 bars with swinging doors. I first saw my husband in the back room of one of these bars. He was dealing poker to some of the cowboys and lumber jacks who frequented these saloons. We looked at each other and thus started a marriage that lasted over 50 years.
I also loved a young, sad faced clown who I met in the circus when he brought me an extra bucket of water to wash my hair outside our dressing tent. He was frail and ill and he left the circus when I did and went home to die.
The convict I loved was a good person who had been imprisoned for hurting someone in a fight when he was young. All he talked about and wanted to do was start an organization to help at risk children when he got out. I saw him often when he was released and had started college and his organization, but the age, race, and background differences caused us to end the relationship.
My grandchildren are also the great loves in my life. Like my children, they are fine people with great senses of humor and compassion. Perhaps the dog I have loved most in my life was my beautiful little dachshund who inspired me with his energy and enthusiasm every day.
I also loved a horse I had that had lost one eye but could still do jumps. He was beautiful and could do some dressage.
The greatest loss of my life was my son Timothy who was killed in a car wreck when he was 21. He was not a drinker and was a good student and athlete who loved farming more than most anything in life. Losing a child is something one never gets over. The stages of grief and loss change over the years, but the pain never subsides.
My husband's death was also a fearful loss, although he was 80 and had been in poor health for some time. At least he went to sleep peacefully while visiting his family in Wyoming. Losing my mother and father was painful, especially since I thought I had disappointed them by being a somewhat wayward daughter. My oldest brother, with whom I was very close, was killed in a plane crash in Nantucket. I never faced the reality of his death until several years later when I visited his grave on that island.
We lost my younger brother in 2011 after he had been ill for several years. Now so many of my dearest friends have passed on and I am full of memories of our times together and miss them most terribly. I have suffered the loss of my little dachshund two months ago. He had become paralyzed in his rear legs and I had to have him put to sleep. He was my constant companion and inspiration while I lived here alone at my condo after my husband died. I am really having a hard time after losing him.
Perhaps the hardest thing about losing ones we love is not only the longing to have them back, but the reminder of our own mortality.