‘Alan Jackson does a song called “Sissy’s Song.” It’s about a woman who gets cancer and dies. I can’t get through it. I’m going to work on that. I’ll get that song down.’
“My wife Kathy and I were getting ready to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in September 2014. That Labor Day, I got a cold and my wife caught it from me, but she got a cough. She went to the doctor; they did chest x-rays and saw something there.
“Three weeks later, we found out she had about 60 to 70 percent of her lung full of cancer and it was also in her windpipe. They scheduled her as soon as possible at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She had the operation and everything went fine.
“She comes home on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Black Friday, she says, ‘Steve, I’m having difficulty breathing.’ We wound up going back to Sloan’s and they immediately put her on a ventilator and induced a coma. What happened was, she caught an infection. She died shortly after.
I had decided not to go, but my guardian angel told me I had to. So, I go and I meet all these crazy people my age and one of them has their own bar. I don’t drink but I started hanging out at the bar.
“Six months later, I get laid off from my job, so I’m home with a dead wife and no job. Then in late August, a friend of mine calls and says, ‘Steve, I’m having a big party.’ I had decided not to go, but my guardian angel told me I had to. So, I go and I meet all these crazy people my age and one of them has their own bar. I don’t drink but I started hanging out at the bar.
“Tuesday nights they started to have karaoke. I said, ‘There is no way you’re going to get me up there and sing.’ That night on my way home, I heard a country tune, and I thought, I could do that. I practiced the tune and went back the next Tuesday night; I sing it and it comes out great. I said, ‘I kind of like doing this and it takes my mind off things.’
“I started looking for other bars that have karaoke. I’ve been to over 40 bars in the last couple of years doing this. When I dress the part, I become Honky Tonk Steve. I also started talking to a lady named Janet on a Facebook page, “Grief Anonymous.” This was a worldwide site; she lives a mile from me.
“That was almost two years ago, and we’ve been dating ever since. She is also a widow and has a lot of my wife’s traits, especially energy. Kathy’s nickname was the ‘Bud Light Girl,’ but they also called her Sissy. Alan Jackson does a song called “Sissy’s Song.” It’s about a woman who gets cancer and dies. I tried to do the song but I can’t get through it. I’m going to work on that; sooner or later, I’ll get that song down.”