Editor, Times-Union:

I received a call on Friday morning, July 29, 2022, informing that my precious wife, Catherine, had passed away. She was 62.

I first found her name and address in a women’s sewing magazine in 1989. She was looking for pen pals. I decided to write to her. In late December, her first letter came in the mail.

We wrote for over four years, then her father died. Catherine called me the next morning to tell me about it. We began talking by phone from that point on.

We would eventually meet. I travelled to Lancaster; the next month, she came to Warsaw. On my next trip Lancaster, we spent Labor Day weekend in a little motel near the village of Leola, Pa., a few miles north of Lancaster. On our last day together, I asked Catherine to marry me.

We got married in Warsaw at the office of the county clerk. That was fun. Catherine’s mother, Marie, was standing there teasing me, “The noose is around your neck now!” All of us, including the lady clerk, laughed. I smile just remembering.

Over the 27-plus years of this marriage, there were laughs, tears, debts and so forth. My biggest regret is not being there for her the last 2-1/2 years. In many ways, that is my fault, but it is also Catherine’s fault.

When we had to move from our home on the east side of Lancaster to an apartment on the west, Catherine demanded I take baths instead of showers. If I had only ignored that demand, I would probably not be here in Warsaw today!

It was in January 2020. Catherine had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in 2019, and then to a nursing home for recovery. I was alone in that apartment since. Those early days in 2020, like a fool, I continued to take baths than showers. I wish I had showered that day.

When I couldn’t feel or move my feet and legs in that bath tub, it was the end of one trouble and the start of another. A few weeks back, I told Catherine that had she left me alone about the shower thing, we would not be in this mess we wound up in.

Some people never consider the consequences of their demands, rules, etc.

Now, my wife is gone. I wasn’t there for her when she needed me most, and it’s all over.

I only hope she entered God’s peace. She suffered so much pain in this world. She truly was the love of my life!

How I wish to have ignored her about the bath over the shower. We could have been together to the last day of her life.

To girls and women, if you truly love your husband, never burden him with foolish demands and accept his ugly appetites. Be a blessing to your husband, not a pest, not a bother! Be a blessing!

Husbands, you do the same!

William Gerald Smith

Warsaw