Ordinary? No, for a wife to eulogize her husband but as Kenny Chesney sings “Ordinary NO, really don’t think so…not a lovethis true …common destiny we were meant to be…. me and you." Arnie and I were meant to be and our life certainly hasn’t been ordinary. We were blessed with a love that few will ever have the pleasure to know.
Having promised my Arnie I would stand here to do this for him when this day came to
our life I searched deep within about what I wanted to say….without this
turning into a novel…there’s just so much I could tell you about my Arnie
First… he wasn’t perfect…He stood me up on our first date…BUT when he called early the
next morning to apologize and ask we try again that evening I let
down my guard because he had a great smile and besides that he drove a Porsche 914..what can I say I was young and naïve. We went out that night and I learned he was a romantic at heart. He planned a perfect night with dinner at a 5 star restaurant called the Canal House . Afterwards we went to the Bucks County Playhouse to see George Washington slept here. The playhouse has a river that runs under it’s floor boards hence
its cool inside. Having drank wine (something I never did then and don’t do
well even today) when we walked out to the intense heat of the summer night, I
passed out and fell down the stairs of the playhouse…we were on even ground now,
both of us with an embarrassment behind us.
It didn’t take us long to fall in love…it was easy for me to fall in love with him
because he appreciated my son Eric then near two years old. He included him
instantly into our relationship and he was comfortable with this little boy who
was my world. Within months he movedinto my tiny apt and we lived together vowing we would never marry again both having been recently divorced from short lived marriages. BUT when you know it’s right it’s just right…so after five years of , "living in sin", as my mother constantly reminded me… I proposed to him on a sunday morning in bed when we woke…. I remember to this day the sun shining on his face through the window when I said Arnie you either have to marry me or move out…and he said WHEN? To which I asked, when are we getting married or when do you have to move out? he kissed me and smiled that great smile and said, “When are we getting married , silly.” That was 38 years ago and married we’ve been ever since. I don’t believe that even his death will change that feeling for me.
I’ll always be married to my arnie.
Our Joshua was born to us five year into our marriage. Mistakingly having been told we were expecting a baby girl, when I called my mother just seconds after his birth to say it’s a boy she said “Oh well we will love him anyway”…my arnie never
let her live down those misconstrued words… always making a joke of it. His
mother put down the phone and round around her restaurant screaming It’s a boy
it’s a boy! and never came back to the phone …it wasn’t easy for me.. a gentile…
to fit into his family in the beginning but the birth of Joshua helped us to come together As two women. Arnie’s mother and I had little in common but there was one thing we did have… we both loved arnie with all of our heart….and ultimately I knew that was the only
thing we needed to share to build a loving relationship. Arnies Mother and me came to love one another. Arnie was grateful for the union we came to know….and it was good and it was right.
We moved to Virginia Beach when Josh was five and we were pregnant with Kayleigh…it was again the romantic in arnie that brought us here…we came for a three day
weekend and while walking the beach late one night and he said honey lets sell
our house close our business and move here and just take a leap of faith. Are
you with me? We jumped, together, and within a month we were Virginia
We were happy with our decision and then the most perfect day of all came…We planned a
home birth with a midwife. When in labor Arnie said let’s dance and when I told
him I couldn’t possibly do that he wrapped his arms around me and said “sure
you can, just put your feet on top ofmine. ‘ I did, and he danced me around our bedroom room singing to me. Our kayleigh was born that December morning but without a midwife present… she never arrived in time. My Arnie brought his baby girl into
the world with his own hands…this was the greatest moment of love we have known.
Our years roll on raising our children and working towards providing them and us a good
future. My mother came to live with us in her later years when she showed signs
of Alzheimers. My Arnie was so good to her, never ever resenting that it took
my time from him to care for her. Always the giver was my Arnie. She was my mother and he knew this was my time to say goodbye, and make it as easy as I could for her. My arnie made it as easy as he could for me.
In 2000 arnie walked into the hospital to have surgery and a major opps happened that
day in an operating room and he would never walk again…paralyzed, our life
changed in one second of time…It didn’ttake my arnie long to find forgiveness…infact it was the next day when he put out his hand to shake that of the
surgeon who failed him and my Arnie said Its’ Ok doc, things happen, I can handle this.” I admit it took me a little longer to find forgiveness but my Arnie helped me to get there.
Over thenext years we climbed mountains together..never looking back only ahead .Our
children grew up instantly right before our eyes well before their years of age He hated when people felt sorry for him As a way to show those that loved us that our life was still good that we were and would be OK we danced at the wedding of a nephew to Bon Jovi’s Thank you for loving me…it was our hope that everyone in the room would come away with the reality that no matter what life hands you, you take it and you turn it around until you’re facing in the right direction, and when you are married that means side by
side. Marriage is forever not just until the going gets tough.
Arnie believed that Life was a gift you are given each day when you wake …you can’t
stare at the box you have to take hold of it, gently untie the ribbon, unwrap it to see what inside and that every day has goodness within but sometimes you might have to look a little deeper to find it……...he always found the good in every day he lived.
One of our anniversaries I made us a candlelight dinner in my garden. A sudden downpour
happened without warning and it was my reaction to immediately push him up the
ramp to inside when he grabbed the rails of the ramp and said stop pull me
back. He put out his hand and said May I have this dance…and dance we did in the rain, becoming drenched in our love.
Trust me you haven’t danced until you dance in the rain with that special
someone you love.
Josh went off to Drexel University and returned home to help out his family when Arnie went through more health crisis. He was my rock and his dads salvation. Soon thereafter Kayleigh graduated high school….BUT she had to share her glory with her daddy who went back to college and graduated the same time she did ….we were so proud of arnies strength and I was proud of him for continuing to teach his children by example…which afterall is a responsibility placed on the title of parent….he instilled in our
children that you never give up, you always give 100 percent to whatever commitment
you make and if 100 percent isn’t good enough you give more.
I have often said that I would have given my legs if I meant my arnie could have the pleasure to walk again, that’s how much I loved him…but I would not want to trade what we learned about life and how to live it with the adversity that we were faced with.
It was with great pride that we kissed our daughter in the driveway the day Josh took her
to move into her dorm at UVA…and cry we did when we went back inside after waving them off…tears of pride at her accomplishment to be accepted to such a prestigious University….having health problems along the way now and then, he always said he wanted the good lord to let him live to see her graduate. Two days before her graduation he reached forward in is bed and broke his femur hence missing her graduation . But Kayleigh and I reenacted it for him the following morning with me humming pom and circumstance, her in her cap and gown, and showing off her diploma. The look of pride in her daddys eyes will forever be embedded in my mind.
Getting over that hump, life coast along for a couple of years on even ground….until Arnie is hospitalized to have his second leg amputated…..I will be eternally grateful for the respect Dr Demassi showed to my arnie and that he had a dr that didn’t give up on him….like two men in battle they fought together side by side. .anyone else would
have walked away when complications of blood flow were such a serious problem…Dr,
Demasi has stood beside arnie and my family with caring thoughts even after we brought him home to die. After Arnie's death I have talked to him also. Dr, Demasi is a fine dr and surgeon as well as a gentleman.
In arnies last days my faith was tested to the limit. I had a difficult time
understanding how the loving God I believe in could allow such suffering of my
beloved Arnie….Only hours before his demise God renewed my faith…Unable to raise
his arms from weakness, unable to talk with difficulty breathing and unable to focus his eyes from drugs to comfort him I went to arnie taking his face in my hands asking him to look at me, he did and I told him god was ready for him and he needed to just allow himself to release and go…it was ok …we would miss him but it wasn’t fair to him for us to expect him to stay any longer …I thanked him for being a loving husband always, told him I could not have chosen a better man to be the father of my children, that I loved him with all of my being, and that I was blessed with the best . Almost miraculously he reached up
and held the side of head with his hand and in a clear voice that I could understand he said no I had the Best with you, I love you and I will always be with you It is time for me go now.I gently kissed his lips. It was about an hour later that he left his earthly life to begin his eternal life, and oh how I miss him. God blessed us by giving us one last minute to express our love toone another..
I used to tell my arnie I never wanted to dance alone but somehow I know I won’t have
too. So if ever you should catch glimpse of me dancing in my zinnia field… please don’t interrupt … I’m dancing with my angel, my partner, my lover my closest friend, MY ARNIE.