On 26 June 2019 we lost my best friend and husband Lawrence (Larry) Preisler. He was truly one-of-a-kind. The world is darker since his light went out. He could always make me laugh, even when he was feeling bad. He would be amazed at all the people who have reached out with stories of how much he was loved. But that was part of his allure.
The humble, loving, funny, renaissance man moved on to his next great adventure.
Although there was an instant connection for the 4987 days we shared since we met on 30 Oct 2005, 7 July 2019 would have been our 12th wedding anniversary.
He wanted to get married on 6 Jun 2006 and I sometimes regret saying no because of the numbers. Instead, we were married on 7 Jul 2007 – 11 years, 11 months and 19 days.
Our time together was extraordinary. Lawrence was patient, kind, passionate, and the most loving man I’ve ever known. He challenged me in a way nobody else has or ever will. I learned so much from him and will never forget being loved unconditionally for who I truly am. He dared me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. He gave me a run for my money intellectually and there was never a shortage of things to talk about. He broadened my horizons and I challenged him as well. We encouraged each other through it all. We grew up in different worlds so the culture shock on both ends of the spectrum was very interesting. But we learned together, loved each other, laughed a lot, and lived our lives to the fullest.
He loved his children, my children, and our grandchildren with such ferocity. Every visit, picture, video, phone call, face time brought him immeasurable joy. The sweetest words to his ears were “I love you grandpa Larry” and “I love you Paw Paw”. One of his last wishes was that his grandchildren never forget him.
When he became ill, we traveled the dark road as one, fought the system, searched for answers, and cried together. It hurt my heart to see him in so much pain. He suffered so much during the last five years- more than most people know. The last four months were especially difficult. His pain was excruciating, even with palliative care involved, and it just got worse and worse the last two months. But through it all he still had his bucket list of trips he wanted to take after rehab, people, and places he wanted to see. He wanted to see our children and his grandchildren again; the ‘puppies’; the cross-country trip starting in Portland, to Omaha, to Madison, then home; Amish Country; NYC (his favorite town); and the World Trade Center Memorial to pay respects to his friend who was lost. Forever the optimist, he always talked about the future and even though he knew his time was short, still made grandiose plans.
But we also had the hard conversations about his funeral, shiva, and dying. I told him that if he died before I gave him permission I would get a Dixieland Band to escort him out of the funeral home, and we laughed. He dared me. But in the end, I knew what he wanted and he made sure that I would not go through the foreign process alone. I had orders and his wishes for a good send-off were followed. He made it clear that he wanted me to be okay when he was gone. Told me I was the strongest person he knew.
I promised. We cried.
His last day was a good one. He devoured the chicken stroganoff recipe posted on his timeline that I made and took to the hospital. He loved it- I hated it- the story of our lives. He ate more than I’ve seen him eat in months. We talked about our life together all day. In the evening I tucked him in as I always did then we hugged and kissed good night. I forgot my phone in the room and went back to get it- another hug, kiss, and see you soon- never good-bye.
Then 5:01 am the next morning the phone call came and time stood still.
The 4987 days that we were one person were the best of my life. Wherever my life leads in the future, Lawrence will always be with me in my heart and never forgotten.
His memory is a blessing.