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…

 

 

 

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.

This Blog Is About To Take a Turn

My life took quite a dive last week, one that isn’t really adoption related, but I’m sure that will play into it. Right now I’m  numb and don’t know exactly where I’m at with any of it. Only that I’m sad, lonely, and my life is forever changed. I lost the love of my life, my partner in crime, and husband of twenty-eight years last week.

I’m still in shock and there are a lot of (not literally) bloody details, I’m not ready to go into. I just need to write about this.

I’ll completely understand if you aren’t up for this journey, I know it’s not going to be an easy one.

I’ve got through the memorial service, starting on all the lawyer crap today, and feel like I’m getting farther and farther from him every second. People are staying with me, not sure if I’m suicide watch or not, though I know I’m not suicidal. My friends, especially my bastard friends, have bee wonderful, my greatest comfort in all of this. There are no word to thank them.

I’m going to try to write here often, and details will emerge, but for now let’s just say, I’m more alone that I think I have ever been, but I don’t feel abandoned, he didn’t want to go, he didn’t leave leave me. He chose me, sure, but he never tried to change me. He made me feel right and good. I don’t know what I am without him.