Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How I got here from Ritzy Things

I only had a 30 day notice that the lease would not be renewed on my knit shop. It was not enough time to sell off the contents of the shop plus, new inventory was being delivered daily. We were not only overwhelmed but broadside by this news. My husband and I diligently slaved for that last month trying to liquidate the inventory and move the complete contents of the shop. 

We had plans on how to sell off the remaining inventory once we moved out and caught our breath. We had enjoyed a wonderful group of customers. Many of our saddened customers came in to help us pack things up and load boxes onto the truck for the storage units. It was just too much to sell off that quickly. With heavy hearts we closed our doors never to open again. 

I never had that chance to catch my breath... Let me step back in time to the prior September 2002. I faintly started to hear a soft voice echoing in my head that continued for months. The voice repeated these words and only these words, over and over again, "It only takes an instant." Being a mother with adult children, my thoughts immediately turned to some tragedy that might involve them our grandchildren. At odd moments during the day I would hear this phrase repeated in my head. 

I than came to my senses, I realized I didn't have control over my children or grandchildren and their lives. I began to doubt that this was a warning that meant they were in danger. Still, I heard... "It only takes and instant". 

I stood in front of my shop, admiring the success I had created with the beginning funds of only $250.00 many years ago with the help from my darling husband. Oh, yes, it had taken time and lots of energy, but I had created what I desired. Wow! It was a powerful feeling. Joy, pride and the greatest fullness that comes with success, all washed over me. I stood in the parking lot, proudly gazing at the neon sign above my store, which I had seen, but not seen for years. I again heard the voice. "It only takes an instant." Of course, I did the only logical thing, I strongly ignored it! 

Then when the "voice" continued to ring in my head, I felt the warning must be meant for me. I started being more cautious in my regular activities and always saying what I meant... but that's a good thing over all. This seemed to send the voice a ways farther back into the distance. 

I was happy with my life, I'd achieved my goals, not perfectly but my dreams were fulfilled. I was on top of the world. I was madly in love with my guy and he was head over heels in love with me. He took care all the household stuff and I took care the shop. He treated me like his queen, as if I were a precious commodity, cherished and very loved. 

My guy was a romantic at heart. A sweet and tender soul, he loved nothing more than to make me happy. He did so many little things to light up my day or just because. He'd be the one to get lunch for us or get our morning latte. He'd come back with hugs and kisses as though he'd been gone for a week. In other words, we couldn't stand to be apart. We truly enjoyed each others company. He had traveled the world in a submarine but wanted nothing more than to be by my side. His years aboard a submarine had given him a talent for packing goods into small spaces. He always amazed me how he could make a huge quantity of stuff shrink into a tiny space. 

He was my forest of protection, always there offering his arms for safety. My strength, my very being was securely entwined in him. We were two strong individuals but one whole. We were close as though we breathed for each other. He was my senior and that always gave me pause, yet, he didn't act that old. He acted and behaved much younger. He had learned to take time to smell the roses too. 

One early dawn he came back into the house and gently woke me. "Come quick, you have to see this." He wrapped my robe around me and threw my jacket on top of that. It was a cold November morning at daybreak. When we stepped off the porch and looked to the east over the top of the barn... we became bathed in the most glorious sunrise ever. We shared that moment as close as two beings can, as we shivered in the morning crispness watching the sky unfold its glorious show. He gave me one of his lushes big hugs and placed me back on the porch with kisses a bunch. "I love you sweetie," he said as he planted a parting kiss on my lips, as though he was going out to sea for months.  

Back to the July 17,2003 ten days after closing. We were starting our new life without the shop and all our shop friends. We still hadn't tried to move any of the many stacks of boxes that cluttered the house. We did a little jig-jag to dance around them when going from room to room. We knew we had lots of time to figure them out. First we would eliminate the storage units and than un-clutter the house.  

A week and a half later we needed to buy groceries and decided a trip to the base would be something to cheer us up. He seemed tired but I thought he was still trying to catch up on rest from the move. I knew I still felt deflated. He had made a doctors appointment for the following Monday morning. He took more time and waited in the car while I did some of the shopping. When we got home we both unloaded the groceries from the car. He took the foods to be frozen down to the basement freezer. 

We were both exhausted from our trip out and had a simple dinner. We popped in a movie since nothing else sparked our interest. I started to lie down on the couch and realized I just might fall asleep. I quickly sprang back up and looked him in the eye from across the room. 
"I love you babe," I said.  
"Ahhhh, you do?" He answered back with one of his big lopsided grins and a question in his voice.
"With all my heart," I reassured him.
"I love you to babe," he said as he continued to eat a bowl of fruit. 
 I laid back down with the knowledge that all was right in my world. 

Sad to say, it didn't last long. I soon realized I was at the threshold of change. The clock revealed 2 am. He wasn't in his recliner. I didn't know what, but something seemed very wrong. I was aware that I was not hearing the voice and the lack of it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Those events have been the hardest I have ever had to walk through. The realization that there was nothing I could do to change them, that hit me hard. 

I now appreciated how the Hawaiian King, in the book Hawaii, had climbed to the top of the mountain and gouged out his eye at the loss of his beloved wife. If I could just find a high enough mountain or a sharp enough knife, I too could cut out my pain. It has been a long hard road.  

Our last trip together, New Years 2002 to Vancouver BC. 

© by Arlene Ritzhaupt, All rights reserved

In fond memory of my beloved CPO Edward D. Ritzhaupt
07/12/1929  -  07/18/2003