This is a question I get during my travels around Kern County. My answer is always the same: "One day at a time, I am OK." The question impacts me in two ways, positive and negative. The positive is that people are concerned about me and want to make me feel better. I give them a hug. The negative is that it reminds me I am now alone, without Wendy, but I remember they just want to make me feel better. I give them a hug.
I read the words of the Dalai Lama every morning. On Jan. 2, my Insight from the Dalai Lama Daily Calendar gave these words: "You see, the past is past and the future is yet to come. That means the future is in your hands -- the future entirely depends on the present. That realization gives you a great responsibility."
I do try to make each day full of activities. I do try very hard to always be positive in the Wendy Wayne way. Give others a big smile and, when acceptable, give them a big hug.
I have spent many days since Father's Day, the day Wendy passed, with my two sons and their families, even though they live many miles away in Monterey County and Austin, Texas.
I now have five grandchildren. Two fresh ones since Father's Day. They make me smile and remind me that life goes on. I spent five days in Ventura with them during the holidays.
I have visited relatives and friends in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Santa Rosa, San Carlos, Dallas, Vail, Colo., and Las Vegas in the last six months. Being busy and with friends occupies my mind and softens the longing. Other recent words from the Dalai Lama explained: "Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend, or a meaningful day."
During my last few months with Wendy, she kept saying, "We had a good life together. I have been very lucky to live a full life but now it is my time to go. You have many years to live. Enjoy them."
With my family and many good friends here in Kern County and around the world, that is what I am trying to do. It is not easy but with your love and help I am moving forward one day at a time.
Thank you, Kern County, for being meaningful.
Gene Tackett of Bakersfield, a former Kern County supervisor who now works as a political and government consultant, was married to child advocate, nurse and political activist Wendy Wayne. She died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last June 17.