Blue Ocean Floor--My Island Boy

"Under the water you scream so loud but the silence surrounds you. But I hear it loud and you fall in the deep and I'll always find you. If your red eyes don't see me anymore, and I can't hear you through the white noise, just send your heartbeat I'll go to the blue ocean floor."

When this Justin Timberlake song came out in the spring of 2013, my husband of 32 years, and I immediately made it "our song." We love the sea and feel drawn to it, somehow. We spent every opportunity we had scuba diving and being in and near the water, even though we live on the prairie.

Timberlake himself discussed the meaning of this song---Typically it’s pretty hard to hear someone who’s deep underwater, but love has a way of overcoming little things like that. No matter what situation his lover is in, he would always find her and rescue her. The ocean’s floor symbolizes the unknown. Not even something so dangerous and mysterious will keep two lovers apart.

On September 2, 2013---after having our entire family (four sons, their wives, and the grandbaby)---home for the first time ever, my husband, lover, and best buddy of 37 years went to Home Depot to get some pool chemicals. We never saw him again.

When he didn't return by 11:30 that night, my sons and I called the police. Unfortunately, the police wrote it off to a lover's spat, and did little to help us locate my husband. They did not file an "official" missing person's report until 9 days later; after he had been missing for three weeks, we learned from the police that they, in error, did not include my husband's vehicle description or license plate # in their report.

I told the police the next day that I knew my husband was dead, because I LITERALLY felt my heart ripped out of my chest--I felt that half of my heart was gone.

My husband was missing for 8 weeks before we learned of his whereabouts. All four of my sons were home with me on October 18---I looked out and saw our best friend's emergency vehicle in my driveway. I saw him walking to the front door, and behind him were two police detectives. I knew immediately that my husband was dead.

As they came into the house, I began to scream NO over and over and over and over. My adult sons were trying so hard to be "strong," to support me, but they of course were devastated, too.

My husband had driven over 700 miles and apparently fell asleep at the wheel....the car plunged down an 80 ft ravine and rolled another 250 feet before coming to rest on its top. I have so many unanswered questions...why on earth did he drive that far? Was he confused? He certainly wasn't upset when he left. I was sitting outside on the deck while he worked in the pool. I told him I was going to wash my car for work the next day, he said he was going to get pool chemicals. We both said our usual "Bye. Luv ya! See ya!" as I left. Since he was working in the pool, he had left his cell phone inside on the table.

The story took on national media attention because as my husband was trapped and dying of his injuries, over several days he wrote personal love letters to me, to his sons, and to his granddaughter. He also wrote about his love for Jesus. He wrote of his attempts to get out of the vehicle, but that he was entrapped and that it was impossible to move. The media has made it even more difficult, because we can't mourn privately.

He probably died sometime within that first week of being gone----but to me, he died on October 18 when we received the official news, because until then there was still hope. Now of course there is nothing but a massive void.

I still find myself begging God to bring him home. How can I live without him? I feel like I'm on the rim of a very, very dark hole. It's difficult to describe the type of marriage we a professor of interpersonal relationships, I've written several books about marriage, intimacy, love, and sex. And now I have none of that. We had a love that very few couples are lucky enough to find.....and now he's gone. I won't wash his pillowcases, or the socks that were on his closet floor. I won't wash his laundry that was in the laundry basket.

Having to think of how he suffered, how cold he must have been, his pain....knowing that he was dead and exposed to the elements for 7 weeks.....having to have a closed casket and not being able to see him or hold him or kiss him one last time.....all of this adds to my suffering and grief. I am fortunate that one of my sons is a funeral director, so he had what he says is the honor and privilege of preparing his father for burial, his last act of love and ministry for his dad.

I am a breast cancer survivor...this isn't how our relationship was supposed to end. He always promised me that his eyes would be what I would be looking into as I died, his hand would be the hand that held mine as I crossed over into heaven. And now he's gone.

How do I go on? How do I go into the college classroom next semester and teach my students about love and intimacy and sex and communication....when it's been ripped out of my life? How do I control the waves of grief that are sure to come when I'm talking about these topics?

The only place I want to be is on the Blue Ocean Floor. I need to be at the ocean, in the sea, because I know that's where I'll feel his presence the most. But as most of you know, there are a lot of "have to's" right now.....I "have to" be with my four sons through the holiday season, because they're hurting, too. I "have to" go back to work in January because my sick leave runs out. At some point, I "have to" go to the store....back to church....Our second grandchild is due in How do we go forward?

I wish our society better understood the concept of grief work---that it is literally a physical, emotional, mental, intellectual, and spiritual work that has to take place.

It's not day by day. Right now it's minute to minute, not knowing where that next breath will come from.

I hate death and the destruction and chaos it's brought into my life.

I want him home. I want him in bed with me. I want to laugh with him again. I want to tell him that the crazy neighbor must have died because his house is on the market. I want to tell him that I found the perfect diet--the Missing Husband diet, where one can lose 40 pounds in 8 weeks without even trying (he'd laugh at that). I want him to see his Little Shadow (our granddaughter) and how many new words she's learned since he left.

I'll love him forever. And I'll hurt for a very, very long time. The pain now is because of the happiness then.

Comments for Blue Ocean Floor--My Island Boy

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Dec 30, 2013
Shared gift 2
by: Kim

always looked out for me & I him, I just feel like I could've should've help protect him. I'm glad to have loved him , but the pain is so indescribable. I do want to encourage you in saying the hurt, memories and your brokenness is gonna take your teaching, and writing to a higher dimension.

Dec 30, 2013
Shared gift
by: Kim

To my sister of like hurt, I pray we both in some way and time manage to go forward, encompassing our lost love, the joyful memories and the resolution of the importance and impact we served in our loved one's life.
I hope you choose to pen pal with me eventually, not to compete on who's love, or memories had the most value but someone who sincerely understands. My actual draw to your excerpt was "island boy". My husband, love and best-friend was a true fish he loved water, the ocean just to be near water.
Your description of them as they came to tell you & your sons of his true demise, my heart broke it was so much like my notification.
My husband had gotten his dream pontoon last year and he was a true lover of music and we prepared the boat with the highest quality of sound system, loaded his iPod with country, jazz, r&b, rock, pop, blues actually any music. We put a grill aboard, a television and he took the boat out every off work weekend.
It was a normal weekend he'd planned to leave at 2pm and I had a run to make, and was suppose to wake him from a nap when I got back. We returned at 2:20 and he'd left which was abnormal cause he always hugged us, kissed us...and I felt weird and called just to say have a good outting but he did not answer. I woke the next morning when my 17yr old said "dad didn't get home" I said ok and asked him to shut door. I didn't display my hearts alarm as it was out of character. I first instinctively called the jail as he had a light problem on our truck & knowing he'd been drinking and in the eat all day there was need to try. However they didn't have him in custody. I knew I needed to seek for myself. I told my oldest son but he wanted to go cause he intended to get cost guard to look for boat. We drove to the landing, but the truck & trailer wasn't there so we turned around to head home and my sons cell phone rang to tell us to come home that the police chaplain was there and would wait for me. At that point I collapsed, I 'd worked in hospital for more than 12 yrs and knew chaplain meant bad. In that news we had to drive home 45min from lake. I'd thought omg he was probably in a car accident but held on to hope that if was injured God's heals & saves. Having been, blessed to have my older sister move to be near me, she is a minister, I called and asked she meet me at home cause I couldn't take what they were gonna tell me...I drive up and to just walk into my house felt like a mile, it was explained he had fell overboard, and not located that the 2 people with him couldn't swim. It made no sense he was a true strong swimmer, having been a lifeguard when he was younger, this was the same man who the week prior had been teaching our 6yr old to swim. It's unbearably hard to function without him, he was my other half I am disabled, and he literally saved me 3 times, he . God Bless you. Kim

Dec 19, 2013
Happy 32nd Anniversary, Sweetie!
by: Anonymous

Thirty-two years ago today.....I can still see tears your eyes as I walked down the aisle to you. I remember telling my Dad, "Slow down, this is what I've waited for forever!"

Ah, you were so incredibly handsome. With our luck, there was an ice storm the night before and we thought no one would show up....but there were over 400 people there that day. What a great time we all had!

I miss you, my Sweet, Sweet Dave. My goal for today: Breathe in. Breathe out. You'd laugh--I tried to spray paint that old table in your office. Apparently the white nozzle is to be pointed AWAY from oneself. So I'm a lovely shade of coral right now. hahah!

I love you and I love you and I love you. I cry every day, but today is a day filled with nothing but happy memories. I can still hear you leaning over to me in the middle of the wedding ceremony and saying, "I forgot to pay the priest!" We laughed so hard!

Happy Anniversary.....I LOVE YOU!!!!! xoxoxo

Nov 30, 2013
by: Anonymous

I too, lost my love earlier this year and I don't know how anyone does this? I have lost people in my life before but until my love passed I have not been acquainted with death. Now I am very well familiar as every minute of every day since he left it laughs in my face. I agree that our society has a long way to go in dealing with this type of loss and perhaps you could bring a greater awareness to it by your experience and background. From what I read and experience personally we are on our own in our own leper colony. I find it curious that your family was all together for the first time---fates?
My husband and I were first brought together by our love for the sea. The first of many common bonds we married in a little chapel by the sea. He taught me how to snorkel. We shared our admiration for Cousteau. We loved Sea Hunt and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, now it is just a lonely sea. I am sadly all to intimate with the pain you are now in and will be for sometime to come. Your entry moved me to many tears. I look for my beautiful husband cut down way too soon where the clouds rest on the shoulders of the sea.

Nov 30, 2013
Your song
by: Lawrence

I join with you in your overwhelming grief and you asking so many questions that can never be answered, but one sentence stood out a mile “We had a love that very few couples are lucky enough to find” you had thirty two years of exquisite happiness,, I know it isn’t no consolation but how wonderful is that, so many couples would give their eye teeth to experience such love, so give your thanks to God for sharing him with you.
I know the agony you are feeling, as do all of us on this web site because we have been, or are going through it, and its hell, there can be no other way of describing it.
Life loses all its purpose, all those things you did together you now try do alone, and the bed is so empty without a loved one to cuddle and the loneliness and indeed the apathy towards life in general.
We want things we can never have again and it hurts so much.
If it is any help at all, I can say is you will never feel as bad as you do now, and you must believe me when I say that as the weeks pass the pain and agony will get that little bit less as realisation will dawn that he has gone, it’s not a dream it really has happened.
I am approaching the twelfth month since my dearly cherished sweetheart died in the blink of an eye as we were talking, and my brain has accepted she has gone but my heart never will and although the grief is lessening I know I will never get over it, nor do I want to.
The tears still flow if I hear a song or see a happy couple kissing but then I mentally kick myself because we had a seventy year love affair that started with our first kiss as young teenagers and ended as I closed her eyes and kissed goodbye on her deathbed in our eighties and I daily thank God for those wonderful years.
I know what you mean about not wanting to wash his clothes; hers are still as she left them, I can’t bear to give them to the charity shop it would be like severing the final chord, I know one day I will have to do it but not yet, I can’t even open the wardrobe door to smell them.
You ask, how do I go on? How do I go into the college classroom next semester and teach my students about love and intimacy and sex and communication....when it's been ripped out of my life? How do I control the waves of grief that are sure to come when I'm talking about these topics?
You will because it’s what he would have wanted you to do.
So, as you can see we are all suffering with you.
Take care

Nov 30, 2013
Blue Ocean Floor -- My Island Boy
by: Doreen UK

I am sorry for your loss of your husband to a very tragic accident. There will always be "What if's?" The U.S. is a large area to cover but here in the U.K. a search helicopter rescue would have gone out when someone is feared missing. I can't understand why it took so long for your husband to be found when society has access to Choppers. What a pity your husband forgot his cell phone. It seems everything was stacked against him from the beginning that it may be hard to apportion blame or negligence to any one body of services.
I am glad your husband knew Jesus. You have the assurance that you will see your husband again in eternity. Hold onto that. I know it is not what you want to hear. I Lost my husband to cancer 18 months ago. WE were married 44yrs. My heart aches as yours does for wanting a husband back. I need him. I miss him. Life is too long without him. Life often makes no sense at a time like this when you need answers and there aren't any. I believe in God and I couldn't go on without that Blessed Hope of seeing my husband again in eternity. You have a large family to support and be supported by. Cling to each other at this difficult time. Before you go back to work spend every day NURTURING yourself. It will be like ointment on your wounds. you will start to feel stronger and be able to move forward better as you give yourself the time to grieve your loss. Work is helpful to fill empty days. I find the week ends the worst. I can't bear Saturday's. The day of the week my husband died. Take one day at a time. IT DOES HELP. I still only take one day at a time and I find it Healing in itself. Get your Church around you for support. Having this Faith and Belief will carry you through the difficult days ahead. I spent the first 6 months on the couch with the T.V. and God T.V. for comfort. I took this time to nurture myself back from grief and it worked like a miracle. I am by no means recovered from grief. But I am well on the way to Healing from my loss. I still have difficult days when I need to see him. Touch him. Talk to him. Cook for him, and wash and iron his clothes. You will find triggers set you off crying. His favourite movie. His favourite food, newspaper, store he visited. routes you passed on outings etc. It all hurts for a long time. May God be close to you at this time and comfort you and give you His Peace.

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