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Noticing her Gifts to Me

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Calendars say that I am sixty-four today. Normally, I am not forthcoming about things like this, but since Charlene died six and a half weeks ago, I have been an open book to many people. It may help people who are grieving. 

Anyway, this is the beginning of the Year of Firsts: My first birthday without her, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, our wedding anniversary, and so on. I just have to cowboy up and get through them. No apologies for tears — which is happening while I write this (I've even done it on legal and business phone calls). Now I want to talk about gifts.

Beginning the dreaded Year of Firsts, I also think about gifts Charlene gave. Some from a store, but there are also intangible gifts from the heart.
Charlene and Bob happy picture, possibly 2005
For having Scandinavian and Scottish ancestry, it's strange that I can't do facial hair very well.

In this neck of the woods, giving a gift may bring thoughts of a package wrapped in paper and sporting a bow of ribbon. Some of us don't mind a bit getting something used, especially if it's personal to the giver as well as the recipient.

Many gifts — possibly the majority — are intangible. I doubt that many people think that those are gifts, but they are things we keep, use, cherish.

I couldn't forget Charlene if I wanted to. Not only do I have a prairie schooner-full of objects that belonged to her and to us in this apartment, but many of those were gifts to me. It may be that she taught me how to do something in the kitchen. When I was driving to a doctor appointment, I remembered that she told me about the shortcut I was using. Charlene gave me suggestions and guidance over the years for many things.

Lac du Saint Sacrement Luncheon Cruise on Lake George, possibly 2003
Also, she suggested places for us to go, such as drawing from her experiences so we could go to Lake George. In a way, we turned some things into gifts to each other. That lunch cruise we agreed to take was a new experience for both of us.

It works both ways, as people give each other both physical and intangible gifts. I gave her many, such as fixing things, assembling boxed furniture, giving advice, and more.

Charlene didn't express emotions very often, but she loved me deeply. That and her love of the Lord are the greatest gifts from her. Oh, how I miss her! But we will be together again.