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My Story
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2000

Sometimes, best intentions notwithstanding, things just don't work out the way we intend. If you're also a single parent, I don't suppose you need me to tell you about that.

Years ago, I married a marvelous woman; mostly because she was beautiful, but also because she was the most hard working, dedicated, honest and dependable person I had ever met. Our marriage was the single most valuable thing in my life, from the first day to the day it was over.

We were a team, and it was a wonderful thing to be part of it. My wife loved me, cared for me, pulled me along when I felt that I could go no further, pushed me in the right direction when I could not see the way, stood by me through life's darkest moments and stood over me when I was down.

I loved her more than life, and I was grateful beyond words that life put us together. There was never a day that went by that I didn't appreciate her, the gift that she was, and the gifts that she gave me.

As only a woman can do, she gave me life, four beautiful children through whose eyes I have been able to relive all of life's magic and mystery. Waiting up for Santa, amusement parks that seem to have no end, clowns that are marvelously funny, catching that first fish, the shiny new bike, woods where fairies and goblins dwell - she made it possible for me to vicariously reenact childhood, but with the ability to control it this time around and try to make it perfect for all of us, over and over again.

People found us peculiar and I think, perhaps, too good to be true. In real life, people just don't love each other like that. It was our policy that, "If we can't all go, we don't go." While I suppose there must have been much we did not do, I cannot recall missing out on a thing. I do have clear recollections of so many marvelous things that we did together.

Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever and it seems that the better a thing is, the more inviolable the rule. I never thought it possible but, whatever it was that cemented or souls together, it went away. I don't know how, I don't know where, and I cannot begin to imagine why, but the day came that she was there for me no longer.

Younger than I, and lacking life's experience, I suppose there were things she had to do. At any rate, she met the man she felt was best for her and went her separate way. It happened over night and nobody who knew us could believe it. To so many people, we were the perfect marriage, and ours was a marriage that they could believe in; for my friends and family, it was a faith shattering disappointment to see us fail.

In retrospect, perhaps I had, "too many eggs in one basket." When she left, my wife, business partner, the mother of my children, the only person I ever really trusted and confided in, and the best friend I had in the world went with her.

Some of it was ugly, and it was all intolerably painful, but in the years we had together she was everything a wife and mother could be. More than that, she gave me everything in the world that means anything to me; although we'll never again share the kind of love that makes a marriage, Lord knows, I will always love her for that.

There could never have been a good time to leave but, in a way, I think she chose the best time that she could. She certainly didn't bail on us, she left us when we were winning, when life looked good and there were no storms in sight. I sincerely wish her well.

Fair weather friends are the best of friends
When the seas and the skies are blue
When fair winds blow, they'll share your sun
The image of steady and true

When the wind kicks up and the sky goes dark
You'll find yourself alone
They'll avoid the risk and shirk the work
To get you safely home

A foul-weather friend, though thick and thin
Will stand and see things through
'Til life's storms end, they can leave you then,
When your seas and skies are blue

To Dee, wherever life carries you, whatever you do, I wish you health, happiness, luck and Godspeed.


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