If you think I need to be a wife to feel validated, the answer would be a no. I’ve been married and divorced; remarried and now widowed. But, no matter what place I am in life, I’M still there. I don’t need to be possessed by someone, but to be a true partner, a loving mate? Ah, that’s the winning powerball ticket. It’s a role I’ve cherished in life.
That being said, I kept the boat upright this last year without my partner, albeit listing a bit to one side at times. I’ve paddled my own canoe through in both home and work. With a home office for more than more than 15 years, days alone in that home are a given.
It’s the nights that bug me.
Last week, despite my reluctance to pull that trigger, I ended up in the ER — at 2am. Groan. My rebellious bad belly had been particularly spiteful these past weeks but it was nausea and a heart racing out of control that woke me from a sound sleep. Not able to put the brakes on it, I shakily called 911. My friends know well that my fresh-out-of-bed, no make up look would normally have made me want to rethink that call but wee hours lightheadedness, in a house where death already visited, does not make for a cool head — or an attractive one.
More important than my pounding heart that night was the ache in it as I sat in my ER bed and looked over at the empty chair that sat alongside. It was the same chair I filled in that and other hospital ER’s, waiting rooms and recovery rooms for so many years. It was a chair that I sat in as wife, business partner, medical advocate and pit bull. It was a chair that I sprang out of to chase doctors down when my husband was having an issue or to harass nurses to check for xray results. It was also the chair, in another hospital, at another time, where I sat only 3 days before he died.
I hate that empty chair. Continue reading
So you’re all packed, ready for the next step of your journey — but you have no idea where you’re going. Aces. Actually, that might not be a bad thing. Heck, you’ve already traveled a road no one ever listed on their bucket list. Who, in their right mind would ASK to go to Grief City — instead of Licorice Castle? That squared highway from hell you’ve been traveling hasn’t had great scenery but, look at you – you’re still standing. That’s a good start.
The even better news is that it’s your road and only you plot the course. It didn’t come with a map or snacks for the trip. You’ve been here before. But, though you played the cards well, your multicolored road ended not in Oz but a very lonely desert with nothing in your backpack but a broken heart. If you were lucky, (as I have been!) there was kindness of friends and family along the way, people who provided emotional sustenance. Maybe there was a support group of other travelers but, in the end, the trip is yours alone and you’re the only one who decides where to go next and how. It’s your game board.
Will you continue to wear your wedding rings? How about keeping your other half’s car? When is the right time to give away their clothes? You are the only one with those answers even if you don’t have one right now. They were YOUR person,YOUR other half and any decision about them is YOURS alone. It is you who carries the game pieces of loss every day in ways no one else does or can. No matter how deeply anyone grieves your loss, no one misses that person as intrinsically as a spouse. Sorry, that’s just a widow fact. Continue reading
Wait, what? I really didn’t order that. Star-spangled freedom wasn’t on my wish list. Been there, done that. I know independence is a good thing– both for people and countries. Being able to stand on your own is an asset in every situation, whether you choose to walk solo or not. Brexit may be one of those times when that ability may be tested.
When I met my husband, I walked into coupleness with eyes wide open – and then some. Having been married before, I knew the difference between being controlled and being intimately connected. Having a base, feeling ultimately at home in a relationship, that’s a cool thing and what we strive for, right? Unfortunately, when my almost-fairytale ended a few months ago, there was no ‘happily ever after’ – at least none that my emotional binoculars can see right now.
My husband’s sudden death set me free into a life, an independence I hadn’t planned on or wished for. Unlike the independence we celebrate today, that kind of freedom doesn’t invite the Grucci brother’s famed fireworks. Nothing about being cut loose in a sink or swim ocean of grief calls for flag waving or bbqs. (I’ve never been a hot dog and beer girl anyway) While I celebrate the heck out of our United States today, sometimes freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if it’s the last thing you were looking for instead of what you were fighting for. Continue reading
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I am Brian Keene's Favorite Beatnik Poet
Coping with widowhood in middle age
after death did us part
Wait. What? Grief, loss, survival.
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