VAUGHN HARDACKER here. October is a month that is usually associated with many wonderful things. Of late we here in far northern Maine have had a marvelous Indian Summer with temps in the 80s. During the past two weeks, I have been working for a PAC distributing information about the forthcoming election. I have literally walked from Allagash to Fort Kent and the warm weather, coupled with the foliage being at peak, made me breathlessly aware of how beautiful nature can be when she puts on her fall finery before settling down for a long winter’s nap. The views of The saint John Valley (in Maine we not only have Aroostook–affectionately called THE COUNTY, but we also have THE VALLEY) almost made me forget why I was walking six hours a day.
However, October is also my saddest month. October 16th will mark the eighth anniversary of the passing of Connie, my wife of thirty-six years. If there is such a thing as a soul-mate, Connie and I were souls-mates and remembering her death, at the too-young age of fifty-five, still drives daggers into my heart. She was my inspiration (my novel THE FISHERMAN, slated for release in spring 2015, was her idea), she was my first reader, and, most importantly, she was (and still is) my best friend. When everything and everyone seemed to be working against me, I always knew that Connie was beside me, supporting me and giving me the confidence to go on. She was truly the glue that held our family together. Connie was weak in many ways and oh so strong in others (I am still astonished how this woman, who was terrified by the smallest bird, kept her sense of humor throughout her final battle against cancer and faced death with a strength that I can only hope to have myself). She always had the ability to keep me balanced and was the one constant bond that kept our family together on those times when my insanity threatened to tear it apart. Since her passing our family has become scattered and disjointed–something that I know she is not pleased with as she watches over us. Throughout her six month battle against an aggressive form of cancer, she did her crying in private and hid her fear from her family, sparing us as much anguish as possible.
Connie’s passing rocked me like nothing else ever has and has made me come to grips with one fact about myself…I don’t appreciate anything until I lose it. I was once told by a therapist that I walk around with a hole in my chest that I believe only a woman can fill. Well, I now walk around with a canyon in my chest that will never be filled until she and I are reunited again.
Connie and I in 1999
Darling Connie, I love you, I miss you and I’m being good so I can join you in the afterlife…