Nine months and three days ago my spouse left the building. He didn’t walk out. He didn’t leave for someone else. I could have dealt with that. In my past life, I DID deal with that. No, this departure had nothing to do with free will, romantic foible or selfish intention. It didn’t even have anything to do with the big C’s relentless march that hounded him. It had everything to do with that celestial calendar we never get to see.
They say the days of our lives are numbered. Well, isn’t that helpful. We have no idea what those numbers are ‑ or when they are up. All we can do is to try our level best to live within the unpredictability of that invisible calendar. As I remember many odd moments, actions of the last two years before he died, I can’t help but wonder if my husband instinctively knew his expiration date would come earlier than expected.
Most of his living large was in the days and years before we met. My guy regaled me with remembered moments of achievement, of professional escapades and successes, of starring roles in community theater shows. By the time we met, the scope of his business and his medical forecast had changed dramatically. Still, he was a vital force of nature. He never lost his penchant for the road less traveled even if he often got totally lost along the way. Hey, it’s true what they say about men and maps. Continue reading
Newsflash – No matter how any of us try to be perfect – that’s not happening. Neither people – or marriages are born to be perfect. Sure, we may WANT perfect, the ideal — but REAL is what we get.
Marriage is rarely a Hallmark movie or 24/7 euphoria. Instead, authentic marriage means sacrifice, issues, chores, schedules, love, irritation, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, anger, affection (not always in that order). It’s also idiocyncrasies, snoring, worries, richer and poorer. When critical illness and its side effects enters the mix, now that really transforms the playing field. One partner undergoes endless procedures/surgeries, diminished quality of life, anger, pain and fear. The other juggles worry, research, is the keeper of the medical records, and caretaker extraordinaire. That was our marriage; that was our REAL.
I’ve poured my heart out these past months, writing about deep grief, and the missing of a husband I loved beyond words. It came to me recently, that the painting was incomplete. It was in black and white with pieces missing. While stark pen and ink art has always been my forte, when it comes to portraying a real picture of real marriage, black and white doesn’t cut it. Grief outlined only in high contrast is pretty flawed and does a disservice to the flavors and colorations a real marriage holds. Continue reading
I probably have a million predictable jokes I could crack here. In fact, in my head I can almost hear my comedian husband spouting a bunch of them. But, at the end of day, I can’t help thinking about something writer, Jill Smolowe, said in her book, Four Funerals and A Wedding. “No one to share the results with. It just feels so alone. Like who gives a shit?”
I feel ya, Jill!
The fact is, now there is no ‘other’to tell anything to. From having to check a new status box from Married to Widow to jotting down a new emergency contact, it’s all a kick in the gut.
Over the years, I’ve sat in more waiting rooms for more hours than I can count. And though I’ve been the healthy ‘other half’, my husband did his stint in a waiting room a few times, too. We might say we never take our built-in security blanket for granted, but I think most of us do sometimes, don’t you? Knowing someone always, always has your back comes with the marriage territory. We do for each other gladly and that’s just the way it is – until it isn’t.
In any case, today the role of my husband was played by two people – my oldest daughter who brought me and my bestie who picked me up. I had it covered. My rides, my support system, my (new) emergency contacts were in place. And while I’m extremely grateful for my loving back-up system, it comes with renewed sadness that there had to be one.
It’s no newsflash that you’re in a brand new world when your spouse dies. It’s par for the course to change your status on medical records and replace your life partner with a new emergency contact. And it’s just a lousy fact of life that the person who you were connected to in all ways no longer patiently sits in the waiting room. But as I’ve been known to say so often, it is what it is. And honestly — it’s really crappy.
Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.
The Wizard of Oz
Lions, tigers or bears, sooner or later, grief touches everyone. And when it does, nothing looks or feels the same, not even your simple nightly routine. You turn off the lights, lock the doors and head upstairs. Simple. Been there, done that more nights than I can count. It’s repeated nightly in every household around the globe. Yet these days, even simple routines — suck. Every nuance screams I’m in a different world now – a world of one. My life made a major detour to the flip side of Oz.
It’s hard not to remember, as I climb the stairs, not only how I found my husband lying there just months ago, but how this home once rang with voices. The only thing ringing now are my ears from the buzzing lack of sound. Like the train tracks I had to draw when I was learning perspective, endless nights just like this, stretch ahead of me. But, when you think about it, don’t most things come down to that – perspective. Continue reading