My Dear Husband
Created by Donald on 10/10/2012
Dear Friends and Family,
I am one of the very very lucky women: I found my true love and had 27 long and wonderful years with him.
I found Joseph in the newspapers. It’s not what you think. I was looking for a room in a house and he and his roommates were looking to rent the extra room. The roommates chose someone else, whom he found too flakey. Good judge of character, she never did move in and he got stuck with more rent, then moved out fairly soon. For my part, I was immediately attracted to Joe—he sitting there in a high-backed chair, looking so regal—and did NOT want to be across a small hallway and sharing a bathroom. No. Not during a possible courtship, for which I was already hoping!
After the very first meeting, I told a friend, I just met a man who I think is going to be important in my life. I was pooh-poohed. As I got to know joseph better, I knew that this was the man I wanted to grow old with. That there were enough depth and talent and mutual interests. I never grew tired of seeing him and being with him.
From day one we dated exclusively, married two years later, bought our first home two years after that, and found our dear girls and adopted them two years after that! Ten years whisked by with school events, work, sports events, more work. And two graduations. Whew!
In 2002, I took early retirement and Joe’s job changed to consultant on projects with California Community Colleges. We could take long trips abroad, which we enjoyed traveling together. I would plot the destinations, and he would use the sometimes-frustrating technology to get us there. His joke in Europe was our two mantras: Me: What’s that smell?” He: Where’s the nearest ATM?
This was our chance to take our long discussed trip around the world. My dream. He was only willing to go for two months. Oh, well… We listed destinations, then told our top one. For us both, it was Africa to see the animals. We plotted and planned. I told friends, "By the time we get back we will either be divorcing or we will be closer than ever. " It was the latter. In so many dangerous situations from elephant charges to a mugging, Joseph was that alert warrior/ protector in whom I had total confidence. I felt he WOULD put his life on the line for me…
Joseph was not an avid conversationalist, so I assumed he just wasn’t that interested in other people. But he surprised me. In Vera Cruz we watched from our upper story window a man who would come out daily under the highest hottest sun, collect bottles of seawater and return to somewhere nearby. Joseph made a friend of him, and in crude Spanish talked and learned that he was once “El Furio Negro” a professional wrestler. Joe visited him several times! Since his passing, I have also seen and heard of the depth of the friendships he had developed in Santa Cruz.
As I look around our home, I see so many places where he re-worked, repaired, improved. His standard was so high, our worker and friend Jose Presa would become frustrated. “We do it over; it’s not right, yet,” Joseph would say in his hilariously bad Spanish. Even Jose would say, “Bastante bueno.”, but no…
Joseph did so many things well; like most of the Giroux boys, he was taught, “If a man can invent it, a man can fix it.” I had to beg him to pay others to do some of those things. He was productive; and he loved to have a to-do list and then CHECK THINGS OFF. One of his great joys in life. I always felt he didn’t need me; he could do almost everything better than I. Except to plan a party and to cook. Lucky for me. I loved to cook for him, to feed him…I did…
Joseph was able to let me be myself. I like the verb “to husband”. I did feel that, like a vineyard, I was being trimmed and shaped and groomed a bit.” But that worked both ways, and he was generous in letting me know what I was adding to his life.
We celebrated 25 years of marriage August 25th with 16 long-time friends whom we love very much. We prepared the house and the yard and the food for a week. Then we relaxed and had a radiantly happy evening; we were floating along for the next several days. A week later Joseph was gone from me. But that anniversary gave us a time to reflect on our good fortune, our frequent laughter about life, our travels together, raising two children; we felt so lucky and ready for whatever was coming…our elder years. I go them alone now, I feel so bereft just now, but I am grateful to have more years and within them the wisdom and love of Joseph.
I wish to thank you all for coming today. I have spoken with, had flowers, cards and messages from most of you by now. I know you are here because you loved Joseph and feel pain for me, but I am respectfully requesting that you let it stay at that for now. I am still too fragile for the many hugs and condolences. I hope you will understand. But we will meet again, soon I hope.