Shuriu's Reviews > All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps

All There Is by Dave Isay
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Mar 19, 12


Elliot: What did you think about marrying me so many years ago? Did you think it would turn out this many years?
Hunny: I never thought anybody lasts this many years! To me divorce was not a foreign word, because if you remember, Elliot, my mother was a divorced woman when she was in her thirties. But I was sure you were the right one. And you know what? I was right. You *are* the right one for me.
I like the way you kiss. You bowled me over sixty-something odd years ago with your way of kissing, and the way you hold me when we dance. You're not a fantastic dancer, but you hold me fantastically, and I feel it. It's genuine. (p. 34)

Norma Taylor: He took wonderful care of me, and when I lost him, I was adrift. I didn't know how to take care of anything. And I had to deal not only with losing him but with adjusting to taking on the responsibility of a house and bills and children, and I had to go back to work. I really didn't know how to manage, but always, in the back of my mind, I would hear him saying, *You can do it! You can do it!* It was that love and that encouragement and that confidence that he gave me while he was alive that enabled me to carry on after he was gone. I wanted to do it for him, so that he would be proud of me.
I talk to him all the time. On our anniversary, on his birthday, and on Valentine's Day I buy cards for him and just write whatever I'm feeling. And if the tears come down and they stain the ink, that's okay. It keeps him close to me, and that's really what I need. The last card I bought was this past March first, on the anniversary of his death. I wrote, "It's 37 years, but you're still with me, and you'll be with me always. You were my life."
I never wanted people to feel sorry for me that i lost Dan, because I always felt I was so lucky to have had him at all. I would've rather had him for that short time than been married a hundred years to somebody else. (p. 60-61)

Granvilette Kestenbaum: People talk about closure. There is no closure when you lose a loved one . I don't care how you lost them, your heart is always open. Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote something that affected me. It says, "Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell." (p. 95)

Beverly Eckert (he was trapped in the South Tower on 9/11): He told me he was on the 105th floor, and I knew right away that Sean was never coming home.
He was very calm. He was very focused. He told me he had been trying to find a way out and what he wanted was information. So I relayed to him what I could see on TV, what floor the flames had reached and on what side of the building.... There was a building in flames underneath him, but Sean didn't even flinch. He stayed composed, talking to me, just talking to me the way he always did. I will always be in awe of the way he faced death. Not an ounce of fear: not when the windows around him were getting too hot to touch; not when the smoke was making it hard to breathe. He will always be a hero to me because of that.
By now we had stopped talking about escape routes. I wanted to use the precious few minutes we had left just to talk. I knew it was time to say good-bye. He told me to give his love to his family, and then we just began talking about all the happiness we shared during our lives together, how lucky we were to have each other. I told him that I wanted to be there with him and die with him, but he said no. He wanted me to live a full life. At one point, when I could tell it was getting harder for him to breathe, I asked him if it hurt. He paused for a moment, and then said, "No." Ho loved me enough to lie.
In the end, as the smoke got thicker, he just kept whispering, "I love you," over and over. I was pressing the phone to my ear as hard as I could. I wanted to crawl through the phone lines to him to hold him one last time. Then I suddenly heard this loud explosion through the phone. It reverberated for several seconds. We both held our breath; I know we both realized what was about to happen. Then I heard a sharp crack, followed by the sound of an avalanche. I twas the building beginning to collapse. I heard Sean gasp once the floor fell out from underneath him....
My last memory that I have of Sean isn't about pain or fear, but it's about bravery and selflessness and, most of all, about love. (p. 97-99)

Hilda: It's funny, because when I met you I was totally sure that love did not exist. But there you were, with this exquisite sensibility and sensitivity. You came over with this calm attitude, very gentle, very sweet, and I felt like you could sense what I had gone through. (p. 104)

Hilda: I remember that second day in Costa Rica, you and Nadia sat to watch a TV show. She started asking you all these questions, and little by little she started leaning on you. Then, I remember, she sat on your lap, and she put her hand over your shoulder. And I thought to myself, *This of one of the nicest images I'll ever save in my mind.* The two of you were laughing about that TV show, so happy. And that's how I picture the two of you today. You have this laughing relationship, so close and funny. Even if you stop loving me tomorrow, I could never pay you back for all the love and affection you have given my baby.
Pedro: When I met Nadia, I said, *I'm going to present myself as I am and see if she likes me.* And fortunately, things turned out well. I'm a really proud stepfather. (p. 105-106)

Sue: I'd always been chasing after men who I thought were what *I* wanted to be, or a more dynamic version of myself, and I would sort of graft off of their dynamism. And you were the opposite of that, because you fall into the "steady" category. (p. 129)

Martha: You were so calm. You knew what to do. You took care of me, and you weren't going to abandon me. I trusted you with my life.... I had seen you when the chips were down. When there's a terrible tragedy, you know what kind of person someone is. (p. 146-147)

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