84: Kiss Me Goodbye

84: Kiss Me Goodbye

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Kiss Me Goodbye

’Twas not my lips you kissed
But my soul.

~Judy Garland

The Thursday progressed like any other. Newly retired, I awoke early, ready for a day filled with my art and writing. My semi-retired husband Paul had already left. He was semi-retired but still working despite several health issues—none of which were life threatening.

He was usually home by five o’clock. We had a new ritual of meeting on the couch for appetizers and to watch the news. It was our new routine as leisurely happy empty nesters.

That evening, about fifteen minutes into the show, Paul got up from the couch to refill our chips and salsa while I went for more cola.

Crash!

I turned to see Paul stumble back with a surprised look on his face, the dish flying through the air and smashing against the coffee table. He fell lifeless onto the couch.

“Paul, Paul, answer me!” I yelled running to his side. “Can you hear me?”

I ran back and forth from Paul to the phone trying to dial 911 with trembling hands.

“My husband, you gotta help my husband!” I yelled to the emergency operator.

“Okay ma’am, calm down, we’re sending someone.”

“Can you get him on the floor?” she asked after I explained the situation.

I took the phone with me and put it on speaker.

“Talk to me,” she said. “Is he on the floor?”

“No, I can’t move him. He’s like dead weight!” I said. How prophetic those words would be.

“Can you get a neighbor to help?”

With that I ran out my side porch. As luck would have it, my neighbor was at her kitchen sink. I could see her from my stoop.

“Help me!” I screamed, jumping up and down waving my arms. Within three seconds she and her husband came in my side door.

He helped me get Paul on the floor and I started CPR.

One, two, three, four, five. Breathe. One, two, three, four, five. Breathe.

That was the last time my lips would touch Paul’s.

The rest of the evening was a blur: paramedics, calling my children from a screaming ambulance.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Rodman, we shocked him four times.”

The priest and my children arrived. A week later we had his funeral and then a reception at the house. Our children and I buried him in the pouring rain a week before Christmas.

My life evolved into a nightmare of putting one foot in front of the other. Doing what I had to. Eating because my kids said eat. Lonely days, anxiety-ridden nights. I cried every day. I turned his pictures over. I couldn’t bear to think of life without him. I gave away his clothes. I worked hard every day to keep moving through the darkness.

Year one turned to year two and I always lamented the same thing: he never got to kiss me goodbye.

By the third year I started to let in my memoires of him without falling apart. The pictures I had turned over now lined my mantel; I saw him in my kid’s eyes. He was larger than life and I sought him everywhere. I didn’t want to forget him and now I was ready to reach out to him. I talked to him daily.

About this time, a friend told me of a show on Internet radio that a reputable medium hosted. I was intrigued and eager to connect with Paul. Enough time had passed that I knew it wouldn’t shatter me. I decided to give it a try.

The first week the phone lines were jammed and I couldn’t get through. The next week was Paul’s birthday so I asked him to send me a message of healing.

The night of the show came. I debated trying to call again. “Oh what the heck are you doing that’s so important?” I asked myself. I turned on my computer and tuned in. I started calling early. No answer but I kept at it, hitting redial over and over.

All of a sudden I heard, “Hi, what’s your name and where are you calling from?”

I almost stuttered I was so surprised, but managed to answer.

The medium asked, “What can I do for you?”

“Do you have a message for me from the other side?” I asked.

“Well, your mother is stepping forward with a man. Oh my,” she told her co-hosts, “did you see that bright flash of light? The man is your husband. This person really wants to be heard. Now he’s showing me his wallet. It’s important to him. He’s trying to show me his name and social security number. Do you still have his wallet?”

“Yes, I do. I just had it out last week for the first time since his death to fill out some legal papers related to his work.” I always had trouble remembering Paul’s social security number so I was looking for his Medicare card and his driver’s license.

“He died suddenly of his heart,” she stated. “He says he was sick. He died in your home.”

“Yes,” I said, starting to cry.

“He’s glad you’re still living in the house and he likes what you’ve done to it, he’s happy you’re comfortable there,” she continued.

Paul was always so proud of our home. I have tried to keep it up just like he did and I was also in the middle of a bathroom remodel.

She said, “This is strange. I have never gotten this message before, but he says he can’t wait to kiss your lips.”

With that I totally lost it. The one thing I had cried, raved and ranted about for three years was that missing kiss.

“Yes, I didn’t get to kiss him goodbye,” I said through tears. “And he was a good kisser!” I kind of laughed, trying to pull myself together.

She laughed too. “Well, that’s good.”

“You guys didn’t get to Hawaii?” she asked.

“Oh God,” I said sucking in my breath. “We were planning a trip to Hawaii for our anniversary when he died.”

The medium continued, “This is kind of embarrassing but he said to tell you, ‘Honey, don’t worry, it’s not your time but when you come, we’ll take that trip. They have beautiful exotic places here. But it’s not your time yet. You have things to do yet. I’ll be waiting for you and can’t wait to kiss your beautiful lips.’ He just told me that kissing you was his favorite thing to do!”

I was blown away and sobbing. I would get my long overdue kiss and more after all!

The medium ended the session with wishing me well and saying everyone in my family who had passed on—my mom, dad, sister and my sweet Paul—was with me every day; they watched over and protected me. I thanked her for her truly precious gift.

I believe heaven is closer than we think. I was so happy to know my loved ones, especially Paul, were with me. My heart was light with the promise of a reunion someday. I would have to wait, but knowing Paul and I would be together again in heaven makes the journey here easier. I found peace that night and can smile now and get on with my life knowing he is with me.

~Sallie A. Rodman

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