There’s a million tiny little things that make up the whole a person, is there not?
A million things.
His name was Anthony, but no one ever called him that unless he was in trouble.
He was Tony. And his mates called him Toz.
He loved ice cream. He had tonsillitis as a kid, and he blamed it on that. But he loved lollies too.
He was just a big kid at heart.
And roast dinners were his favorite, and I cooked them for him once a week. One of the best compliments he ever gave me was that I cooked a roast just as good as his mum’s.
Not really. He gave me compliments all the time. He called me babe, and told me how sexy I was. Especially when I was pregnant.
He loved pregnant women, he thought they were so beautiful.
And he loved my tiny ears.
He was covered in tattoos, his back, his arms. He looked so tough, you wouldn’t cross him. But he was such a teddy bear.
All his tattoos, they were for someone, someone he loved, a family member. His body, he’d so often said, was for his family.
I think, maybe, that’s why the concept of organ donation bothered me a bit, at the end. Someone cutting up his beautiful body, his artwork. His tattoos for us.
But a donor he was. With a perfect donor heart.
My Tony, he had a huge heart. He would give you the shirt off his back, the money from his wallet, if he thought you needed it. Especially for his family. He was the only male, and he took such good care of them.
Tony hated wearing a suit for work, for funerals. But he didn’t mind wearing one to dress up, for a wedding, for the races. And he looked so damn fine in one.
He was such a good looking man. Tall and strong,with big arms. One of the ICU nurses commented, in the last few hours, what a good looking man he was. All I could reply through my tears was “He’s such a spunk.”
And he was. He was so confident. And that was so sexy. He could carry on a conversation with anyone, and did so. He was always smiling. He knew everyone, everywhere we went someone would come up saying “Toz! How are you mate?”.
And he told me he loved me, ten times a day. I remember, I asked him, once or twice when we first got together “Do you love me?”
And the answer I got was “Can’t you tell by the way I hold you that I do?”
And I did, always. He treated me like I was so fragile, and tiny, I may break if he handled me roughly.
Even when I crawled into bed, next to him, late at night, I’d whisper “I love you babe” and kiss his broad, snoring back. And he’d mutter, in the depths of sleep “I love you, too”.
Even in the depths of sleep.
Even in the hospital, never conscious but slightly responsive. I’d say “I love you” and he’d flex his feet, try and open his eyes.
Twice I discovered I was pregnant, and twice I cried. And both times, Tony tried to disguise his smile and said “Don’t worry, darl. We’ll figure it out.”
He loved to swim. He pottered in his shed, ‘working on his car’, which was euphemism for playing with tools or doing whatever boys do in their sheds.
He took our son for train trips. To nowhere. He’s leave The Bump and I to sleep on a Sunday morning, and he and Chop would catch a train to the next major station, get off, buy chocolate milk, then get back on and come home.
And they both had the time of their lives.
Tony loved his back being rubbed, his hair being played with, when he had it- any stress, and he’d shave his head. I wish he had, those last few days, I might have known something was wrong.
As a kid he loved Star Wars, and there was a part in a Stephen King movie that scared him senseless, that we laughed over when we watched it together as adults.
He surfed. A few days before he died, he went surfing for the first time in fifteen years, and stood up, twice. He also lost his wedding ring.
And replaced it, that afternoon, because it was so important to him.
I’m so glad he did.
He took me on huge driving holidays, because I was afraid of flying. I told him in the hospital, “If you come out of this, we’ll fly. We’ll go wherever you want.”
His favorite song was INXS’s Mystify, and we played it at his funeral.
He was proud of me, and encouraged me, every step of the way. He told me I was tough. But made me feel so beautiful.
On our wedding day, as soon as we got to talk once the pomp and ceremony was over, the first thing he said was “It just feels so right, doesn’t it?”
I didn’t even need to answer.
I miss him. I can’t even explain, how much it hurts.
There is a spot in my backyard now, that seems to pull at me. A vortex. The most powerful place in the world, perhaps.
The backyard of a family home. My daughter was born there. My husband hung himself there. Those two events, they happened only three feet apart from one another.
And now we have the space in between.