1. No one told me it would be so darned difficult. I had no idea it would be an emotional thing, but it is. It is a lot like watching your last child graduate from high school, or realizing you have no more kids in primary. A major part of my life is over (that of being the bishop's wife) and will probably not come back, so I'm glad I enjoyed it and didn't wish any part of it away.
2. One of the reasons I am grateful that Gary was able to be the bishop is because it gave other people a glimpse of what I have always seen in him: a man who is loving and kind and thinks of others all the time. A man who is thoughtful without having to TRY to be thoughtful. (A lot of the time I have to remind myself to be nice, especially if I am in a bad mood. Being nice is Gary's nature.)
3. People are always so sympathetic towards a bishop's wife and that's just plain crazy. The bishop's wife gets a lot of blessings. The spirit in our home was warm, the ward members were loving and supportive, and even though Gary was gone often for various meetings and stuff, I always knew that if I needed him he would have dropped what he was doing and he would have been there for me. (But I was blessed to NOT be in that dire of need.) And the times when Gary was with me, for date nights or when we were spending time together watching TV or whatever, he just felt more "there" so I never felt like I was shorted in any way. Of course, if I had young children it would have been more difficult, but since mine were old enough to get themselves ready for church, I really reaped the rewards without pain.
4. I had the pleasure of watching Gary's love for the youth in the ward grow deeper and deeper as the years went by. Gary has always loved the scouts, of course. But to be honest I think the thought of being surrounded by YW made him nervous. (Maybe having three daughters who could wrap him around their little fingers made the idea of a whole room full of girls a little intimidating.) Over the years he has not only overcome the nervousness, he has become visibly more comfortable dealing with the youth as a group regardless of their gender. And he will always be known for being the bishop with that cool song game.
5. Gary is the first bishop in many a year in our ward who has not been bald upon his release. :)
6. I have been continually impressed that there has been no act of service, no work in the kingdom of the ward, that Gary has not been willing to do. Last night Gary said that he wanted to go down to the small 2nd building because there were a lot of dead moths that needed to be cleaned up (the building isn't in use much, especially in the summer because there is no seminary) and he didn't want the new bishop to have to go down and clean it up. So at 10:00 at night, we were down there vacuuming up all the dead moths. Well, actually Gary was doing the vacuuming while I played with the buttons on the podium. But then I went around and picked up the moths he missed and did some general tidying up. I love that building.
7. Gary is not perfect, of course. There is no doubt that he has offended someone here and there. But there is also no doubt that he would never INTENTIONALLY offend anyone. He has always done his best to do only what the Lord would have him do.
8. I have had five plus years to gaze at him on the stand, admiring how handsome he is. :) And when I occasionally caught his eye, I mouthed the words "I love you" to him, and he would get a sheepish look on his face and mouth it back to me.
9. Those times when he has dozed off on the stand? Well, for the most part it was because he had spent a little too long either working on bishop emails, genealogy, or some other worthwhile project. I hardly ever saw him fritter away his time, but if he did it was probably star trek related. (Yes, he is occasionally a bit of a trekkie.)
Gary, my love, thank you. Thank you for fulfilling your calling with all the joy in your heart, and sharing those great blessings with me. Eternity will be Heaven with you.