Fool for France

Birthday Thoughts: happy 81st, wherever you are

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Robert would be 81 tomorrow. Perhaps it’s only coincidence but I have just now come to the end of the things that we planned together, fleshed out after his death by the answers to my “what now?” questions. The Vendee house we were going to buy together was going to be a second home. When I decided it would be my primary residence, I decided it would be one Robert, too, would be happy to call home. That meant it would need room for lots of books and it would need a hot tub, what people generally, these days, call a spa. He read voraciously and ended every day with a long soak.

In the last month the house has been buttoned up. The contractors will return but rarely and for nothing that would make it impossible to live here. A permanent spa will have to wait for the garden overhaul but I found one of those inflatable ones on Amazon. It fits nicely on the terrace. After only a few days the heater went out, so not such a hot tub after all, but it’s in. And here, two months early, is the new bookshelf. It’s not in its intended location but it is in. If I had been buying for this location I’d have bought one more section — Flamant makes them in a variety of sizes — but I’m fine with this and like that it does not overpower the room. Though I show it empty, it is now nearly full. That bottom shelf is filled, end to end, by Robert’s art books. I’m saving up for another one of these and will surely fill that one, too. When the overflow from the Paris bookshelves arrives, it will be packed out. That space to the right awaits its comfy reading chair and accompanying lamp.

So. The final milestone, the last of the things we had absolutely planned to do together, has been reached. The transition is complete. It’s going to take me a while to get used to that.

7 Replies to “Birthday Thoughts: happy 81st, wherever you are”

    1. He taught me to trust my instincts. He listened carefully, considered what I said, then generally said yes, let’s do it. And from that point on there was no turning back. He taught me to believe in myself, simply by believing in me and following through, even when I had doubts. I will be forever grateful to him.


  1. Bereavement has no road map, nor timescale. You have reached a destination, of sorts, and no doubt Robert would have approved of your achievements so far. Perhaps any route you take from now on will be your choice, not Robert’s, but he will still be alongside, somewhere in the ether. Bon courage…..

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    1. Yes. Every choice was mine, really. It’s just that when my nerve failed, which was early and often, Robert would say no, we’re going with Plan A. Do enough of that and you start believing in the viability of your Plans A. This is our last plan. So yes, future choices will be my choices and I will have other collaborators, on an as-needed basis, in my projects and my life. It will be good. I love the house, no question. It just won’t be as exciting.

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  2. What you have achieved is both amazing and extraordinarily poignant. Robert’s heart beats in yours. As you move forward you will feel that hand guiding you. Our great loves do that. They guide us because when we were alive we absorbed them by osmosis into our own being. Your home will always be the home you built together. And he is smiling

    Liked by 1 person

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