Lover's Key, Florida

Lover's Key, Florida

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It hangs on a hook
in  the closet
where she left it
caramel-color leather
not real big
just right for someone petite.

Her wallet is still inside
driver’s license, now expired,
insurance cards
no longer needed
little note she wrote
to herself—
buy John a B. D. card—
later delivered
with a kiss.

All a sweet reminder
from her
that she was here
in full force
keeping our life on track
inside her purse
where she kept her treasures—
and tissues for tears.

The things I value most
I keep in the purse
hanging there on the wall
where she left it.

John A. Bayerl, April 25, 2012

Gwen was a diabetic for for 40 years.  When she was diagnosed with cancer she joked, with that gallows humor of hers, that she was sure that the diabetes that would get her, and now this.  Like all other obstacles in  her life, she managed the diabetes and never allowed it to define who she was;  returned to school, earned her BSN, and then had a long career as an OR nurse in the Kellogg Eye Center.  

In addition to the many things a woman carries in her purse, including a round hair brush, she also had all of her insulin supplies:  glucometer, needles, and test strips.  Searching for a comb, pen or stick of gum in her purse was an adventure.  When she was able to begin using an insulin pump, we welcomed how much easier it made things, and her purse breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Now all of her insulin supplies have been donated, and her purse, including a depleted wallet hangs in the closet.  She always kept the family checkbook in there, a tradition that I still maintain.  For me, it is a sacred relic of sorts, a solid reminder of the how the most mundane things in  life take on unexpected, pleasant, overwhelming meaning.  We convince ourselves that we can prepare for death, know what to expect.  Not true, at least, not for me. No one can know what it feels like to face the death of one who made life complete until one knows what it feels like.  And, there's only one way to do that. 

I've begun "dating," Dear; it's weird--it was so much easier when I was a teenager.  I know you are in this with me; but damn, you set the pole awfully high.

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