The Widow’s Debutante Ball

I made it through yesterday, through the last year. If on this day last year, you asked me if I be around in a year, I couldn’t have been sure.

Like so  many milestones, I don’t feel a bit different after its passing. Now I don’t feel the all encompassing, debilitating, agony of fresh grieving, I still grieve, and it still hurts. I can go to the store, club meetings, doctors appointments, without feeling like everybody is looking at me, feeling sorry for me, watching to see if I’ll lose it. I’m no longer the woman whose husband just died, I’m just a widow.

I still don’t know what being just a widow means. Since a year has passed, I know I’m supposed to rejoin society, whatever that means  I almost feel like I should have some kind of weird widow’s debutante ball.

At this ball people could gather and wait for the widows to enter. We’d all be veiled and covered in black, once entered we would remove our black garments to reveal colorful and stylish clothing beneath. We would be welcomed back with dances, gifts and good wishes. Everyone of us widows would be gracious and smile. But the smiles wouldn’t be because we were truly happy or ready to rejoin the world. We would smile because we all would have learned to take anything offered. We would know how little we have and to never turn down any act of kindness, they are few and far between. We would smile because, for one night, we would be distracted from the loneliness that is, and probably always will be, our constant companion. After the party we would go home and everything would be the same.

OK, the above is too bleak, too negative, too dark. I have moved on. I’m not alone. I do really smile and laugh. I’m blessed and loved. Loved more than I could ever imagine, and I can return that love.

But part of me will always be at that ball.

 

James Taylor Made Me Cry

True Story Magazine, pulpy, always a photo on the front of a young woman on the front with a blurb about what she had done for love? True Story had a monthly feature called “My Visit from Beyond”. My high school bestie and I used to love to read those out loud to each other, complete with weird sound effects. The sound effects were used to punctuate the lameness of the stories that consisted of lonely lovelorn women seeing shadows of lovers from past lives in doorways and dead aunts telling them where they had hidden their pearls.

Circa 1985, proving that interesting things only happened to people in soft focus in the ’80s.

I have no doubt my skepticism about all things paranormal spring from this experience. Not only did these experience with the ‘other world’ seem mundane, they were obviously wish fulfillment fantasies.

Now I wonder. This morning I turned on the radio, the first song I heard was James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. I’ve never paid much attention to the 1970′s singer/songwriter types, but being of a certain age, there is no way you don’t know that song. Heck, I had never realized it was about someone dying, it was just something that played in the background a lot when I was a kid.

That song had me in tears before the first chorus. The mixture of grief, realization, self disgust, and finally laughter through tears, at my silliness was intense. Seriously how could I, Addie Pray, be breaking down will listening to James Taylor? Then I figured it out, it was ‘my visit from beyond’, David was haunting me, sending me a message.

Nothing would make him laugh more than seeing me break down over a song like that. It’s so not me, and so David to play a paranormal practical joke on me. God, I loved that man.

I really hope it was him trying to make laugh today.

I’m Fine. Considering….

I’m Fine, I really am…..considering.

I’m very close to the one year mark of the big bad. Sometimes it’s hard to believe so much time has passed, sometimes it seems like it was much longer ago that I lost David. In this last year I haven’t moved through time in the same way I did before. Some things have moved incredibly fast, others seem not to move at all. I think part of me will always be stuck in the horrifying time when I lost him.

But I’m fine. Considering. Life has gone on, the world has keep turning, and even if I haven’t been completely involved in that forward march at all times, I’ve kept my sense of the movement. As I move into the next year, one thing I fear is people will think I’m over it. I’m not, and I’m not going to be. The passage of time doesn’t change what happened. I’m changed. I may be moving forward, but I haven’t forgotten. It will always be a part of who I am.

Some folks understand I’ll not be the same. They’ve let me know they are still here for me and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. They are my true friends. They know, no matter how fine I seem, I’m still carrying this thing.

It’s been a bittersweet year, good things, wonderful things, have come my way along with the bad. They stand out starkly and beautifully, and they always will. I’ve been given gifts that opened the world back up to me, made me know living is worthwhile, let me know that my ability to love didn’t die.

I have no idea what I want to say here. Just that I’m fine. At least for now.

 

Rolling With It

What has become of Addie?

I have no idea.

She is still becoming.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. Everything is different, the minutes, hours, days and months are nothing like they were. I have become accustomed to being adrift, but decided to trust.

Worst case scenarios playing out can make you feel bulletproof. It’s an illusion, it can always hurt more. I figured that out when I decided to trust again. Setting that fear aside has been difficult, but I had to, loss comes regardless of intent. To fear loss is to fear life.

Yep, that means I have a boyfriend.

Well, not really a boyfriend, we have decided to put off dating for a few years until we are eligible for the senior citizen’s discount at leading establishments. We’re not getting to know each other, we met nearly thirty years ago. He scared me to death back then.

He scares me to death now, but for entirely different reasons. Now I can handle his looks, his voice, his sweetness, his humor, but his love frightens me. I never planned on falling in love again. I wasn’t sure I would find it, I wasn’t sure I wanted it, I wasn’t sure I deserved it.

I always thought I was extremely lucky to have found one true love in my life. A second love didn’t seem likely.

My life has been a series of highly unlikely events. I’m going to roll with it.

Now for something else unlikely, an Englishman with soul…

 

 

 

Who Can Just Go Get Fucked This Year

I’m coming up on 5 months since I lost David, I’m in the middle of mid-terms, and my birthday is next week. That’s right, I’m a stressed out widowed adoptee just about to have a birthday. Folks who know what this means are already looking for something to crawl under. So in lieu of felonious assault, here are my fuck yous for the year..

The Forty-sixth annual Fuck You list…

The Medical Community-no explanation needed, but I’m going to bitch a bit anyway. I do not give a damn if you will never pay off your student loans, that you are not allowed to practice as you wish, or construction on your new summer home is six months behind schedule, you fucked up and fucked up bad. Not only did you lose one, so did I, and a whole lot of other people. Your decisions effect lives, forever, at least you could try not to be an asshole about things. Oh and quit billing my husband’s worthless estate for killing him.

The Funeral Industry-again no explanation required. I hate everyone of those fuckers. You can take your fake sympathy and shove it up your ass.

The Greeting Card Industry-I’m fucking well aware that I’ve lost someone, thanks for putting on the front of a card to remind me. Is this supposed to make me feel better? Widow pro-tip for my readers, don’t send sympathy cards, send friendship cards. The sentiments of some greeting card writer are not comforting. Poets and Jesus may care, but you can’t buy it for $2.75.

The Greeting Card Industry Again-Like I said my birthday is coming up, and I have to pick out birthday cards for a couple of adoptee friends today. I’m thinking they aren’t going to have anything that expresses my true sentiments of “Gee sorry about this day that brings up all your abandonment issues, but you’re my friend, and I want you to have a good day anyway.”

The Adoption Industry-Duh.

Facebook-Really? What the fuck dude? ‘Nuff said

The Entertainment Industry-This has to be the worst year yet for adoption themed movies, television shows, and any other thing they can throw at us. I got so goddamn tired of not being able to watch a pissing thing without the fucking wonder of adoption being thrown in my face this year, I told DirecTV to take a hike. I’m much happier. Thanks. And don’t even get me started on “still young woman loses her husband and goes on to make a life for herself” bullshit. Yeah it happens and it’s happening to me, but for fucks sake, it’s not one bit inspirational and being widowed doesn’t make me a goddamned saint. The whole let’s make the character widowed instead of divorced so we all know she’s a good girl thing makes me want to clean out the china cabinet with a baseball bat. Fuck you, my trauma didn’t cleanse me.

Verizon Wireless-Talk about profiting on death. They really need to have a recently widowed plan. I think I might have spent as much money with them as it cost to bury David in the first three months after he was gone. Fuck you.

David-Yeah, David. Fuck you for leaving me. Fuck you for not being here to take me out to dinner when I finish up my mid-terms. Fuck you for leaving me the mess of your life to clean up. Fuck you for not being late with my birthday present this year and wrapping up a picture of whatever you just got around to ordering me. Fuck you for loving me. Fuck you for dying.

I’m going to stop for now, but I’m not done.

If I Could Wear Your Clothes, I’d Pretend I Was You

I came across a shirt yesterday. A man’s dress shirt, fine white cotton,athletic cut, french cuffs, beautifully made. It was David’s favorite shirt, it fit him well. It showed his wide shoulders, long body, and small waist to best advantage. He looked damn good in it. Nobody else could ever wear that shirt.

I laundered it, pressed it, and hung it my closet. His closet in now my closet, just like everything else he ever had. Most of his clothes are gone, I’ve keep a few things, most are packed away, but some things stay. The good things, the things that defined him, the things that made him unique.

When your love dies, in some ways, you become them, not just legally, but in a much deeper sense. You are the closest thing left of them, you incorporate them in ways you never thought possible. Just as you could finish their thoughts in life, you finish them in death. You have their voice. It can be so intense sometimes it’s hard to tell your voice from theirs, but there is no confusing the source of that voice.

You hold on to the irreplaceable, the core of who that person was, the preciousness of memory. To suggest they could be replaced is an impossibility, it denies both my worth and the strength of the true memory of my love. Nobody else could ever wear that shirt, and I would never pretend to dress anyone else in it. It belonged to David.

There is a strange duality to widowhood, if you haven’t been here, it’s hard to understand. Having loved doesn’t keep you from loving and sometimes the message on both sides of the unmistakable border of what was, and what it is now, is the same. Don’t let go.

In and Out of Sync

Yesterday was a rough one. David’s death has been a catalyst for lots of other things. Sometimes loss paralyzes people, sometimes it makes them frantic. Most people experience periods of both. When the folks who cared deeply about the person lost aren’t in sync in their periods of paralysis and excess activity it can be hard.

There are folks that always seem to be in sync with each other, no matter the situation, or how much time has passed since they last saw each other. It was that way with David and a friend of his. They were friends as children, extremely close as teenagers though they lived far from each other, and constant companions in young adulthood. Their lives took different directions and communication was just here and there as they got older, but when they were together, it was as if they were never apart. They were true friends.

I think he probably cared about David as much as any one in the world. His grief breaks my heart. He was my friend too and I hate to hear the pain in his voice. Grief is a strange thing, you don’t just grieve for the one that’s gone, you grieve for the loss others feel.

He’s coming to see me today. It’s going to be hard, but I hope he finds some closure, peace, or whatever he can. I hope I can help.

For some reason this song always makes me think of him. He’s a real what you give kind of guy.

I’ve Lost My Balance

In the past few weeks the world has become both smaller and larger.

My own little everyday world has shrunk by half. The demands of keeping everything running smoothly have become simpler.  I don’t have anyone to feed, I just eat when I can. I don’t have enough laundry to worry about sorting it. The clutter around the house has been frozen in time. Many of the things left out a few weeks ago, waiting to find a place, are still waiting. Some of this clutter will be acted upon, saved, filed, other things will never their intended use here. Maybe someone else will find use for these little things, maybe they won’t. I don’t know yet.

Everything outside my door has become bigger by two, maybe more.  I’ve always been independent, have taken care of my own things and my own business, but it was good to know I had some back-up when I needed it. My friends and family are there, but it’s not the same. It’s not their job to take care of me, I’m not supposed to be the person taken into account about the decisions they, or I, make.

The best definition I have ever heard of marriage was that it is an institution that makes you take another person into account in every decision. I was comfortable in that, I didn’t see it as limiting. I saw it as the opportunity to take advantage of another viewpoint, another set of skills, the wealth of another experience. David and I were very much alike, but our thought processes were very different. He was more mechanical, logical, a gatherer of all essential pieces before beginning. I tend to run a lot more on emotion, passion and anger. He kept me out of a lot of trouble and I pushed him toward things he might not have done.

I find myself asking myself what he would have done a lot lately. I usually think I know, but I can’t be sure.

I know I’m going to lose my balance and crash now when I wouldn’t before in some situations. It frightens me.

I’m Not Strong

I’m not strong, I do probably look that way, but it’s an unintentional front. I am gutted, sad, screaming inside. I want my David back. I want to punch the fucking Universe in the face. I cannot fathom that my poor sweet husband had to go through that, he deserved better.

David wasn’t done. He still had so many things he wanted to do. I cry not just for the things we would do together, but the things he would achieve, the things he would make, the stuff he would make work. I cry for the beautiful days he won’t see and the good meals he won’t eat.

Losing him seems to be much too much about me and not nearly enough about him sometimes.

Make no mistake this is about David.

My sweet, smart, curious, and ambitious David.

I’m a Viking, but work is kind of slow these days…..

As I deal with all this damn loss, convinced that the universe is not out to kill me, but something much worse, like a life sentence in solitary confinement, I think of all the years that will come. How long my sentence will be without David, I can’t know, but there it is stretching out in front of me. I’m going to have to do something.

As many of you know, on all aptitude tests, I score very highly as an axe wielding Viking warrior. I do plan to continue my efforts to assemble a horde, but it is, as always, problematic. The coasts of Europe are much better defended these days, and lets face it, most of the countries are broke. Recruiting and exposition costs could far exceed return on pillage. I’ll leave that as a long term goal.

Cat lady is also a possibility. I’d have very low start-up costs. I’ve got the creepy old house on the edge of town, four cats to start with, and let’s face it, I’m a widow. If my town has an opening, my resume will make me a shoe-in. I’ll keep my eye on the local paper for openings, but it’s one of those positions that people keep for life and God only knows how many people already have dibs. I’m not interested in relocating, so this may never happen for me.

I’m thinking I’ll probably just do my best to carry on as I have. Writing, school again in the Fall, finish what I started, then worry about the cushy jobs. There are things out there I need to finish, work that I still feel needs to be done, none of that has changed. It just feels different, satisfying, but not like before. When I achieve something, I won’t get the hug and the words, “I’m proud of you.” from the person that it means the most from. Not physically anyway. That will be bittersweet at best.

Right now, getting through this blog post is difficult. My ability to concentrate has taken a dive from it’s normal low. I’ve been told to expect this along with confusion, forgetfulness, and a general feeling of “wrongness”, and that’s on a good day. As far as I can tell, I’m typical . So forgive me my ramblings.