Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who ARE These People?

I've often thought that there is nothing funny about losing my husband. They say that humor and laughter are great healers, and don't get me wrong, I have laughed during the past nine and a half months, but never at anything directly related to his death.

Until yesterday.

In my effort to tie up "loose ends", I've been signing into Bobby's personal email accounts. I already read his Verizon & Hotmail, but I hadn't gotten around to his Gmail yet. (As I've said before, my beloved, Mr. Computer Geek, had to have several email accounts. Don't ask...must be a computer thing.)

I signed into his email, to find emails from all sorts of people that I didn't know he knew! It puzzled me as to why he had dozens of emails from AT&T Wireless (his phone was Verizon), a Baptist church in another state (we're Episcopalians), countless jokes from his brother-in-law, Bill (he doesn't have a brother-in-law named Bill), emails from Peter, his accountant (our accountant's name is Mike), and lots of emails from (he never once watched a baseball game on TV in the 19 years we were together). Who were these people, and why would they be emailing Bobby?

So I started to click on the emails. Bill's jokes were funny, and the emails from the Baptist church were inspiring. But it didn't give me any clue why he would be getting these emails. They were clearly not spam, but email that was subscribed to.

Finally, I clicked on one from AT&T wireless. It said, "Dear Ron". And it all became clear.

Bobby's name, of course, is Robert, and our last name is very common, like "Smith". So many people must have assumed that, using "Smith" as my example, "" was Ron, not Robert. Poor Ron is probably trying to figure out why he is not getting his email.

I laughed. Not a lot, maybe just a chuckle. But Bobby would have gotten a big laugh out of this, and knowing him, he probably would have emailed all these people to tell them about the mistake, and so Ron would get his email. He was that kind of guy.

Maybe I'll do it for him. Maybe not. After all, Bill's jokes are funny.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Never Assume....

I knew this would happen at some point, and it has. I've been mistaken for a divorcee, and it was not in a very nice way. (I have nothing against divorcees, see my previous post for more explanation.)

Yesterday a friend of mine posted on Facebook an amusing account of trying to get her 16 year old son to shovel the snow. It was light-hearted and funny, and some of her other friends posted other humorous anecdotes about getting their own children to help with the snow, so I joined in the banter and commented that since we bought our new snow-blower, I was careful NOT to learn how to run it, and only my 15 year old son knows how, thus I don't have to do it. It was all in good fun.

The next commenter, somebody I do not know personally, but is friends on Facebook with my friend, then posted underneath "That is what husbands are for...."

I took this as quite a blow. It was if she was saying to me, "How dare you make your poor teen use the snowblower when you should have a husband to do it. But you're obviously not responsible or mature enough to have a husband even though you have children." Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but I am very sensitive about this issue. I do not want to be mistaken for something I am not.

I was insulted that this woman had the audacity to judge me when she doesn't even know me. I had to strike back. A million nasty things went through my head that I wanted to post to this woman, but I also did not want to upset my friend, who started the conversation in the first place. So I simply commented, "My husband passed away." There were no more comments after that. I was probably a real downer at that point to everyone who participated in the conversation, but I didn't care. I was angry at the woman for her insensitive comment.

So in the words of Felix Unger, "Never assume...."

Friday, January 14, 2011

On the Radio

I’ve always been a Classic Rock sort of gal...I like listening to Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, you know the type. I always thought that my favorite Classic Rock station was a safe place to listen to the radio because I didn’t have to worry about running into Celine Dion or Air Supply singing a sappy love song that would send me into tears. The only love song I want to hear these days is Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC.

Well, when you’re grieving, there is no safe place. I know I’ve blogged in the past about being in Shop Rite or in my cousin’s pool, and remembering something about Bobby. But today, on my way to work, I was doomed.

I have a very short commute to work – ten minutes at the most – so I don’t get to hear a lot of music on my way in. So this morning, as I was pulling out of the driveway, I turned on the radio to find we are in the middle of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. Just the title was killing me. (Boy do I wish he was here...Bobby I mean, not Roger Waters.) But I decided to brave out the rest of the song, since there are no other good radio stations that come in well in my town, and I haven’t yet sprung for satellite radio. Finally the song was over and I was hoping for something along the lines of Jumping Jack Flash when the DJ put on Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.

Really? Did you ever listen to the words? "Well I’ve been afraid of changin’ since I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder and children get older. And I’m gettin’ older, too."


But I like that song, so I braved it out. I found myself actually gritting my teeth. As I made the last turn to get on the road that leads to my place of work, Landslide ended, and who comes on? Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven.

I was done. I had to sit in the car, have a good cry, then fix my mascara before going in.

So no, I've discovered that no place seems to be safe.

The up side? At least they didn’t play Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. I probably would have turned around and gone home.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day

1/1/11 – A new year. No longer 2010, the year I lost Bobby. It’s supposed to be a time of new beginnings, new starts, and new resolutions.

But I feel exactly the same. Sorry folks, but I just can’t get on board with the whole “new beginnings” thing. I feel pretty much the same today that I felt yesterday. Really, if you think about it, there is not much difference between 12/31/10 – 11:59:59pm and 1/1/11 – 12:00:00am.

Maybe I didn’t want 2010 to end. 2011 is just another piece of evidence that I am moving farther and farther away from the last touch, the last word, the last kiss and the last cuddle. The last time we held hands. So 2010 ending wasn’t necessarily a good thing in my mind.

I woke up this morning in the same bed, in the same house, in the same town, and still the same widow that I was last night. But the “new beginnings” thing that everyone talks about is putting me under too much pressure. So I guess that is what my “new beginning” will pressure.

When I was in my late teens and 20s, I felt a lot of pressure to “have a date” for New Year’s Eve, or, at the very least, “have plans”. Back then, sitting home on New Year’s Eve was like having the word “Loser” written across your forehead in red magic marker. Luckily, when you finally meet the one you want to share your life with, the pressure is gone and you’re happy to eat M&M’s in bed together with your sweatpants on and watch a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathon on New Year’s Eve. But here in “Widow World”, the pressure is no longer on New Year’s Eve; it is on New Year’s Day. There is a tremendous amount of pressure for me to make a “new start,” and New Year’s Day only magnifies it. It’s as though I’m supposed to discover something wonderful about myself in 2011 and if I don’t, I’m just a big fat failure. I’m supposed to “change” and “evolve”. The pressure is daunting, and that red magic marker is quickly approaching my forehead....

Truthfully, I really don’t feel this need to find out anything wonderful about myself. I’m content with who I am, really. (Any woman who can raise two teenage boys alone without them getting in trouble rates pretty high in my book.) I love being the person that Bobby loved, warts and all. I don’t feel a need to make all these changes that I’m “supposed” to make with the New Year. I don’t want to change into someone that he would not love, let alone recognize.

Do I want some things to change? Sure I do. I want to stop being sad. I want to feel joy in my heart once again. I probably should learn how to change a flat. But just because the year changed, it doesn’t mean my grieving has changed. It’s still there, and the flip of a calendar page doesn’t make a difference.