Remembering Gary, 11 Years On

Gary (on left) making sand castles with his sons, Maine, August 1992

Gary (on left) making sand castles with his sons, Maine, August 1992

August 2, 2003 was a Saturday, as it is today. That night, around 10:20pm in Sydney, Australia, my first husband Gary took his final breath. I was with him, along with our son and Gary’s son from his first marriage. Our son was four days away from his 18th birthday.

Gary and our son, 1986

Gary and our son at 7 months, 1986

Gary loved flowers and nature and growing things. No matter where we lived, he worked with care and devotion to make the outside (and inside) of our home beautiful. He created flower beds and rock gardens and soothing water features.

Planting in Connecticut, 1984

Planting in Connecticut, 1984

In Australia, Gary coached and umpired baseball, giving time and energy in his calm, communicative, expert way. He received year after year of thank-you notes and gifts from parents and players who had never experienced a coach who was at once so fair, firm, and fun.

Coaching in Sydney (Gary on right), 1996

Coaching in Sydney (Gary on right), 1996

Gary adored most everything about Australia, including its dazzling sunshine and endless beaches. We all fell in love with the Land Down Under and agreed we’d relocate there permanently. Gary envisioned not only selling our Connecticut house and buying one in Sydney, but also someday owning a ‘weekender’ on the coast of New South Wales.

My dreams took us in a different direction, to a pied-à-terre in Paris. Gary loved Paris but for multiple reasons that made sense to him (and, in fairness, to most of our family and friends), was opposed to the idea. Eventually it did happen — these events are included in the Paris memoir I’m working on — and Gary loved it, too. We spent several memorable trips searching, finding and setting it up.

Painting in Paris, 1999

Painting in Paris, 1999

Since Gary’s death 11 years ago, I have been blessed to meet Clive, the second love of my life. Gary’s older son, my U.S. stepson, has three beautiful boys of his own. In four days’ time, my son will turn 29. I don’t think a day goes by without any of us thinking of Gary in one way or another. August 2nd is one day on the calendar, but a day we all lost so much.

My son is at a business event in California this weekend, but we spoke on the phone and later I scattered rose petals for both of us beside the sea in Felixstowe.

Thank you, Gary, for blessing our lives with your presence. And thank you, Clive, for your sensitivity and support and for scanning these photos for me today.

Family (Gary on right) in Maine, August 1991

Family (Gary on right) in Maine, August 1991

5 Responses

  1. What a lovely post to remember him by. xx

  2. Thank you, Andrea.

  3. The pictures that accompany your post are wonderful, and bring back so many memories! It’s almost impossible to imagine that we lost him ten years ago. Thanks for sharing such lovely sentiments with us.

  4. Mary, thanks for your comment and sweet thoughts — happy you like the photos & am grateful for our friendship.

  5. […] written about Gary before, about our meeting and how lucky I felt throughout our marriage; about the kind of person he was and the gifts he gave to the world; about the tradition I’ve developed to scatter red rose […]

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