One Year Ago…..

One year ago today, my world and my life as I had known them suddenly and inexplicably changed forever.  And it seemed as if it happened truly in the blink of an eye.

It was a warm sunny summer Friday afternoon.  I had just come home from work, and in what seemed like less than 10 minutes later, an ambulance was in my driveway.  Every time I see an ambulance, I relive those moments and tears fill my eyes….

Bear - Spring 2008
The man I love, DeWitt “Bear” Perkins, – my best friend, my love, my business partner, my soul mate, my world – had collapsed in the yard.  It turned out he had suffered a brain aneurysm, which we didn’t know at the time.  It was causing him terrible pain and was making him nauseous.  When I saw him on the ground, I knew something bad was going on.  I asked him, several times, if he was okay.  And he kept telling me, “I have a bad headache and I’m nauseous but I love you”.

The “but I love you” was a running little inside thing between the two of us.  I heard him tell me that 3 times – “but I love you”.  And to me, that showed he knew I was right there with him, right beside him, loving him as much as he loved me.

To be in that kind of pain and to say those words to me…… my heart aches every time I think about that.

Oh how I’ve hung on to those special words every single day since June 13, 2008.

 

The ambulance took him to the hospital, and he lapsed into a coma en route, and never came out of it.  The doctors declared him brain-dead early afternoon on June 14, 2008, which we didn’t know until hours later.  Because we donated his organs and his body, he was still alive and with us until about noon time on Sunday June 15th.  To me, despite what the paperwork says, June 15th is the day etched in my brain.  I could still hold his hand, touch him, feel his warmth, talk to him, caress his face and hair, and watch him breathe……until they made us leave that day.  He was only 57 years old, way too young….

Ann and Bear 2004 REALTOR of the Year Ceremony

Bear was my world, he brought so much to my life over the many years we were together.  Seventeen years of a lot of living and sharing and laughing and crying and so much more…..  We met because of real estate.  He and I were both REALTORS at the time we met.  He worked with friends of mine, however we never really met until he showed a listing of mine in Exeter, which he sold to his buyers.  And we got to know each during that sale, and the rest is history, all 17 years of it.

Bear was a really special man, a gentle giant of a guy.  He was a man of presence, and he was a magnet for little kids.  He loved them, and they loved him.  No matter where we went, some little one would always catch his eye, and vice versa.  And the next thing I’d know, he’d be exchanging smiles and giggles with whatever little child was drawn to him.  And that happened frequently.

Bear and Ann at House of Blues in Orlando
His deep blues eye, his ever-ready deep laugh, his shiny silvery hair with sunglasses on frequently top of his head – I could spot him a mile away.  Everywhere we went, whether it was here in town or somewhere across the country, we ran into people he knew.  He was quite involved in the REALTOR organization, and in the MLS as well, so he got to know a lot of people that way.

We could be in an airport in the middle of the country, and invariably, someone would call out his name to say hi.  Sitting in Fenway Park, we’d run into people who knew him.  His daughter and son used to tease him about not being able to go anywhere with him where no one knew him.

I miss him so much, my heart literally hurts at times.

It seems impossible to me that a year, a FULL year, has gone by without him here.  I find myself still expecting to see him in the yard, where he loved being.  I sometimes get mad that he’s not here – we had so much yet to do and see and explore together.  Sometimes, when we’d have those deep in-the-gut kind of talks, he’d always tell me that he’d never leave me, ever.  But he did……. and I know he didn’t leave on purpose.

Bear - Pease Greeters 4-2007

This has been the most difficult year of my life.  I’ve had to learn to go minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week.  The time has passed, I can tell that by the calendar.  I don’t know how I made it to this point, and I surely would not have without the wonderful family I’m blessed to have and the really special friends I have.

When I lost my mom several years ago, Bear was the only person who could reach me and keep me from sinking deeper than I did.  This time, he wasn’t here to do that – I had to do it on my own without him, and I knew from the very start I had to fight with every fiber in my being to not let that happen because I’m not sure I could have recovered if that had happened this time around.  My family and my friends have been my salvation, along with the grief counseling I took part in.

And I am here today……..

Ann and Bear - Thanksgiving Pic

I’ve learned a lot during this year, much of it against my will, but learn many things I did.  I’ve learned I’m a bit stronger than I ever had any inkling I was.  I’ve learned how to let others help me – that one took awhile because I thought I was doing ok, and I clearly was not.  I’ve learned to reach out to others, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do when I know someone else going through a loss like this.

I’ve learned there are so many people in this world who care, so many who are really good people.  I’ve learned that Bear and I touched more lives than we could ever have realized.  I’ve learned the power of social networks, and what the friends who live in my computer have come to mean to me.

And I am here today – to celebrate and honor forever the life of the man who meant so much to me, DeWitt ‘Bear’ Perkins, and to give thanks to and for so many who meant and mean so much to us and to me……….

Bear Collage 11-2008

I miss you my Honey Bear far more than words can say………
“Sweet Dreams, Sleep Tight, I Love You, Good Night….”

Would you like information on the Portsmouth New Hampshire real estate market? Do you have questions about the buying or selling process? Give me a call at 1-888-349-5678 x 3839 or send me an email and let’s talk real estate!

Comments

  1. RIP Bear…w e all miss you!!
    Awesome tribute Ann to a wonderful man!

  2. This was so beautiful Ann – thank you for sharing with me. B

  3. You are a ROCK and a courageous woman Ann. You are a survivor!

    Abby

  4. Ann-You made a beautiful tribute to Bear….it does seem hard to think a year has already passed. But pass it has and with each thing that you have gotten through you are a little stronger.

  5. Lorraine says:

    Ann – What a wonderful tribute to a great guy – I cried reading and viewing the beautiful photos. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by and you are strong because of “Bear” – he was your rock and because of him and the wonderful memories you have, you will always keep him with you. I thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute…Love & Hugs,
    Lorraine

    • Paul Sargeant says:

      Ann,

      That was beautiful. I couldn’t read it when I first saw it because I thought it would be sad. Revisiting it this afternoon I came to realize that in many ways it was joyful. It was a tribute well written and well deserved. It is all about fond memories that you will carry with you forever, until the time you are together again.

      Time does not allow you to forget, but it does help you heal, and Bear wants you to heal, because remember he loves you, and will forever!

      Paul

  6. Monika, Bonnie, Abby, Kathy, Lorraine, Paul – thank you all for your wonderful comments. This post is very special to me, and your comments are really special, and I love you all for taking the time to read this and for being part of my life.

    Hugs to each of you,
    Ann

  7. Rebecca Skane says:

    Hi Ann, I have never been to your site before and for some reason, I came upon it today and read your beautiful blog. I am very glad I did. Although we have not met, your name precedes you as a professional, and I heard about your loss last year from a colleague. I am truly sorry for your loss. I cried when I read this post. I believe that when we are done with our lives here, God chooses the time when he calls us home. And now he is an angel looking over you, every day he is still with you. You will see your love again some day. Have peace and God Bless you and yours.

  8. Diana Hoyt says:

    Ann, I didn’t know Bear well, but I do remember one conversation we had at the Mount Washington Hotel just prior to your installation as NHAR president. I don’t remember much about the conversation other than it seemed he was as nervous as he said you were and I remember how he beamed when he talked about you. He was so proud of you! I also don’t know you well, but from what I see and have come to know is a very strong, passionate, caring person whom I am glad to know. Your post about such a difficult time in your life is inspirational to me. My daughter has just recently been diagnosed with a grave heart illness and I have been crippled by the thought of how I would survive if I lost her. Your courage in expressing your grief and how you have coped this last year has given me a much needed shot of strength as my daughter battles this illness.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you Ann. God bless.

  9. Ann, I know it has been a long and difficult year for you without your Bear. Your words were written from your heart and although you will probably never stop the healing process, you have done remarkably well in terms of coping with your loss. Great photos of you and Bear…that wonderful smile and twinkle in your eye…. that’s Ann!

  10. Nancy LeRoy says:

    Ann:
    I always knew how strong you were, although you didn’t.; but never knew you could write. What a wonderful tribute – you caught it all. The twinkle, humor, quick wit. Lobster, steak, beranise – all are very fond memories. Time doesn’t dim, but rather wraps memories in a special place where you can retrieve them, and they are a comfort.
    Good job, and well done.
    Nancy

  11. Ann – (Sorry I missed this when you first posted it.) This is a beautiful tribute to your Bear. You are an incredibly strong woman and I cannot even imagine how much stronger you have had to be over this past year. We all love you, Ann.

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