It was Election Day 2016 and also the fourth night in our new home in the new town to which we had just moved. As usual, my husband and I got the kids to bed and settled in to watch some TV together. Based on the events of the day, the programming was all but decided for us, but we were excited to watch all the election news unfold. We felt we knew how it would all end up, but our sense of deep patriotism for our beloved country allowed us to watch it all unfold regardless of what the polls were already indicating.
As the night drew on, we moved from the living room to the bedroom to continue watching the coverage there. Joel ended up falling asleep, but I was still glued on the news. Eventually, my body must have caved to exhaustion as well, because the next thing I remember was waking up to see it was around 2:30 am, and the results I had been expecting had completely changed! What in the world? Donald Trump actually WON the election? Very few people on either side of the political fence anticipated that announcement. I immediately woke Joel up and said, “You’ve got to see this!”
For the next hour or so, we laid there together watching the continuing coverage unfold with the news that shocked even us. Eventually, I remember saying, “Alrighty then. Well, there you have it. Let’s go back to sleep.” And…sleep we did!
While the unprecedented political memories from that day certainly stand out, what I remember most is this…laying in bed with my husband in this home. I know that sounds strange, but allow me to elaborate. What I obviously didn’t know then was that our days together were soon coming to an end. In just a short 3 1/2 months, my husband would be in Heaven. I would be widowed for the second time, and I would begin solo parenting our four young adopted children. Even though we had 3 1/2 more months together, the night of the Election in 2016 was the only night I remember sleeping in the bed with my husband.
After having gone through losing a spouse twice, I’ve learned the body has a way of buffering our shock and deep pain by covering up memories. It’s true! I have many precious memories of my years with Joel, but I have very few from our last few months together. Election night 2016 is one of them, Christmas that same year is another, and our big snow in January 2017 was another one. That’s really about it until Joel entered the hospital a few days before his death in February 2017.
I’ve often wondered why my memories are so few during our last months together. Perhaps it was because it was a very stressful time in our lives with having just moved and everything associated with that. Perhaps it was because we were in throes of getting our adopted children established with medical and therapy providers in our new town while still trying to keep up with some necessary visits in our previous town. Perhaps it was the rush of the holidays and several January birthdays soon to follow. I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is this…
I’ll never forget Election Day 2016, because it was the last time I actually remember sleeping with my husband (even though we did so every night that followed until his hospitalization). Tonight, I’ll do the same thing I did four years ago. I’ll get the kids to bed, and I’ll hunker down to watch the election coverage on TV. I’ll eventually probably move to the bedroom to finish watching there until I fall asleep, but this time I’ll be watching without my husband beside me. This time, I won’t have him to wake up in the middle of the night with any updates. This time…