Alone – sucks. I can’t speak for all the people who navigate that space so seamlessly every day. Some even choose that solo state (big kudos from me!) but it never would have been my first choice by a long shot. I fell or was thrown in that lake, kicking and screaming.
Most days I’m doing pretty okay, thank you. But then one thing, one little insignificant thing, can set off a really lovely pity party – minus the balloons and ice cream. In another lifetime, I wouldn’t even notice innocent gestures that I saw a hundred times. But like it or not (and I don’t) I’m in THIS life now, so everything takes on a different meaning. And things that grab your heart seem to be everywhere – even at a simple 5 year old T-ball game.
I was living in the moment, watching those earnest little people running bases full speed ahead, trying like heck to hit the ball off the tee hard enough to make it actually GO somewhere. When one of those kids is an irrepressible grandson, well, enough said. So I hung out near the dugout, getting a bird’s eye view of his swing (he’s got a great arm, by the way) until I got a glimpse of another view.
One of the family, also widowed, has a girlfriend now. Living on a ranch in the middle of nowhere USA, we are all glad for him. He’s a really sweet man who deserves caring companionship. (Don’t we all..) Anyway, as I glanced up, his hands were tenderly massaging the back of the woman’s neck as she stroked his arms. My first reaction? Eeee-ooo – family outing! But then I thought of my own back massager who I’ve missed like breath and air. I got it. I thought of how my husband instinctively knew the drill. He would get those magic fingers started as soon as I backed up to him without either of us saying a word. Oh, that man knew my neck and shoulders so well. He knew that 3 whiplashes made my traps whine for attention – and he always obliged. Did I take that for granted sometimes? Did I stroke his arms when he supplied those personal shoulder massages? Or did I just close my eyes and tell him to never stop? Whatever my response, I know I appreciated every massage yet they were simply part and parcel of life with my ‘other’. And I did the same for him; when he woke with a start with a charlie horse in his calf, or for so many after effects of cancer treatments. We did for each other – that’s marriage, right? Now, I stick a cold pack on my aching neck and wait it out.
I left the ball field the same way I came. Alone. Nothing changed. Nothing catastrophic happened. So why did I feel like heavy clouds swallowed me whole? I’m always going to get those reminders (as if I needed them) that I’m not in Oz anymore. And it’s going to suck every single time. But pity parties are pointless, aren’t they? The gift bags just aren’t worth it.