Nancy Elizabeth “Sissy” McQuary was 14 when I met her at Mabelvale United Methodist Church sometime in the fall of 1970.
She was 48 when I came over to this house for a visit on Christmas Day 2004, and 50 when we got married two years later.
Today, she would have been 64. I’m sure there’s a too-cute Beatles analogy to be made somewhere, but I’m not in the mood to try to find it.
She died nearly 17 months ago after a second visit from acute myeloid leukemia. Some days it seems like a couple of days ago, and on others, the funeral is in the distance.
I wasn’t leaving the house much in the “Before Times,” as I heard Stephen Colbert or some other comedian refer recently to the pre-CoViD-19 days. But I may have regressed in the grief process during the quarantine. I’m not sure why — my staying at home hasn’t trimmed my number of outings much.
Occasionally, I’d meet someone for lunch or go see a friend, but now I sit in the recliner watching news or “Bosch” on Prime Video. It’s doubtful I’ll go anywhere except to pick up groceries I’ve ordered online from Kroger or a prescription via Walgreen’s drive-through lane.
Nancy’s birthday leaves me plenty of time to recall a lot of good memories, though they rarely were from birthday outings. My family’s annual reunion fell on the first weekend in June. She’d occasionally grumble about it, but when I offered to take her on a trip that weekend instead of the reunion, she’d decline. She adored my cousins, Dee and Margaret, so she’d have a great time, talking to them.
Last year, the first birthday after her death, the reunion fell exactly on June 1. I told relatives that I might show up and I might not — it would depend on how I felt. … I did go, and had a nice time.
But this year’s reunion, like many larger events, have been canceled because of the coronavirus. Today, on Nancy’s birthday, I sat here in the recliner and outside at the patio table and remembered our 14 years together — and missed her.