Thursday, February 28, 2013

Date and Time

It seems like the latest widow-blogpost du jour discusses the day and time that thier beloved died. One said, "Every Wednesday I think of him....." and I've seen others talk about the time their beloved died - "every time I see 1:35 on the clock, I think of that moment..." Comments like that.

And I feel like a slug.

Why? Because the time of day that Bobby passed away, nor the day of the week, reminds me of when he died. I almost feel like I'm betraying him because I am not thinking of him when these things occur on the calendar and clock. Am I the only one?

I do, however, think about him every time the date that it happened is mentioned. April 15. Tax day. The day the Titanic sunk. And the day that Bobby died. All around bad day if you ask me.  I'm sure I'll call in sick that day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Imagination Running Wild

I guess it is human nature to feel that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.  For me today, Valentine's Day, it certainly is true.

While my head knows that not everyone in the world is deliriously happy in their marriage, my heart hurts today because I'm being reminded all day that it is Valentine's Day - from the DJ's on the radio to everyone wearing red at work and flowers on co-workers desks, ranging from one red rose to large bouquets.  I picture my married friends getting romantic gifts from husbands who did not have to be hinted to or prodded.  I picture them at romantic dinners and staring into each others' eyes while someone else watches the kids.  There is even soft romantic music playing in the background of this scene in my mind where all they can think of is each other and how much they love each other.


Interestingly, this is not how Bobby and I spent Valentine's Day.  Sure, we always bought each other a card and a gift, and that card and gift more often than not came from the local CVS or Walgreen's and was picked up on the way home from work.  I got him the same thing every year...a box of chocolate covered cherries and a card with cute little animals on it.  He got the same thing for me every year, too - an expensive fancy card and a box of dark chocolate flavored candy.   Never wrapped in fancy wrap, but handed to each other in the plastic bag from the drug store.  I'm surprised that in 19 years together we never ran into each other shopping!  After work, the evening was usually spent running the kids back and forth to activities; helping with homework; and falling asleep early because we had to do the whole routine over again the next day.  The closest we ever got to a romantic dinner was his suggestion to call out for a pizza or Chinese so I wouldn't have to cook on Valentine's Day.  Even though we never did anything especially romantic on Valentines's Day,  I felt loved.  The Hallmark Holiday was just one more way for me to be reminded of this.

Now that Hallmark Holiday just magnifies the fact that I am alone.  But I guess I'm making progress.  It's my third Valentine's Day alone and it's 10:01 in the morning and I haven't cried (yet).  By this time last year I had already been reduced to a blubbering ball of tears, so I guess I'm making some progress.  I've chosen to ignore the day, so I'm wearing black and turquoise and making turkey hot dogs for dinner for the kids.  As far as I'm concerned, it's only February 14.  Just another day on the calendar.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"That Girl"

No, I'm not talking about Marlo Thomas.  (Boy did I just date myself...)
I had the TV on over the weekend, and caught part of a program where a guy and a girl were having a conversation about their relationship.  The guy was telling her how the relationship has made him “that guy”…a fun-to-be-with-happy-go-lucky person, where before he thought he was a little dull.  He kept saying, “I love being that guy.  I love that guy.  I would never have become that guy without you in my life.”

I know what he means, because I used to be that girl.  I was different when Bobby was alive.  I was happier, less intense, and a lot less jaded.  I cared about what I wore and making myself look nice.  I did not get angry as easily as I do now.  I never had to worry about things like car inspection, generators and leaky pipes - I was a girly girl and enjoyed being one. 
However, since his death I have become cynical and sarcastic.  I rarely worry about my hair, clothes or makeup, because I feel like there is no longer any need.  I have trouble trusting people.  I always think the workmen I've hired to do this or that around the house is "out to get that widow".  I wonder sometimes why my friends are still my friends!  I’m no longer fun.  Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to be friends with me now.  It’s even affecting my kids.  On the rare occasion when I smile, they will say, “Look!  Mom’s happy!” – like it’s a holiday or something.  I've been told that no matter what I'm doing or saying, my eyes are always sad.

I miss the person I was before Bobby got sick and died.  I want her to come back so badly, but through everything I’ve experienced, and everything I’ve read about losing a spouse, it’s not possible.  It’s sad, because it is sort of like she died when he died, and this new person was born.  I’ve heard I’m supposed to embrace this new person I’ve become, but how can I embrace her when I don’t even particularly like her?
So I set about to find out what is worth embracing about "the new girl".  I guess I should like the fact that she knows how to care for a sick husband while working full-time, raising two boys and surviving on little or no sleep.  She is continuing to raise those boys who are now teenagers, and who are doing quite well.  I guess I should like that she can take her car for inspection by herself; put together a brand new generator and run it properly; and stop leaky pipes temporarily while waiting for the plumber to show up.  She taught her 17-year-old how to drive.  She stopped worrying about the "small stuff" that used to bother her, especially at work, and saves her energy for the "big stuff" that needs her attention.  (She still confuses wrenches with pliers and nuts with bolts, and has no idea how to run the lawnmower or snowblower, but isn't that was 17-year-old sons are for?)
So I guess there is some good in this new girl.  I just wish I liked her as much as I liked the other girl, (who, ironically, did not realize how cool she was until she was gone).  I guess I just have to get used to this new girl, but I'll always miss that other girl, too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Duck, Caffe Mocha and Christian Music

Bobby always had a very limited palate.  He was not an adventurous eater by any means.  Trying to get him to try any new food was like pulling teeth.  If we were getting coffee, I'd get a fancy mocchacino, he would get regular coffee.  When we went out to eat, I'd try different things on the menu, like duck, while he would only get chicken.  And if chicken parmigiana was on the menu, he would get that.  No matter what restaurant we went to, he would get the chicken parmigiana if it were available.

After he was diagnosed, we were fortunate enough to be able to go on a family vacation with the boys.  We went to a nice restaurant one night, and duck was on the menu.  He completely surprised me by ordering duck!  I couldn't believe it!  Mr. He-Who-Only-Ate-Chicken ordering duck?  Who was this man, and what had he done with my husband?

A few weeks later, right before I left work, I gave him a call at his office and told him I was stopping at Starbucks for a Cafe Mocha on my way home.  He always told me that "Chocolate does NOT belong in coffee!" so I did not for one second think he would want one.  I offered to pick him up a cup of coffee, since we frequently got home from work at the same time, and he said, "Sure.  Get me a Cafe Mocha, too."  After I scraped myself up off the floor, I left work and picked up two Cafe Mochas from Starbucks.

One night a few weeks later, we were talking about food and the duck and Cafe Mocha came up in the conversation.  He told me that he was not particularly fond of either the duck or the Cafe Mocha.  I asked him why he tried them then, when he had been so dead set against it earlier.  He said it was time he tried new things, that he might not get another chance.

There was another incident when we were in the car.  He put the radio on, but instead of tuning into the typical Classic Rock station that he normally listened to, or putting in one of his Bluegrass CD's, he had the radio tuned to Christian music.  Now, although we are Christian, neither one of us is uber-religious, and on more Sundays than I care to admit, St. Pillow won out over St. Paul's, especially in the summer.  So I looked at him and questioned, "Christian music?"

"I need all the help I can get," was his reply. 

It dawned on me then.  Even though we rarely spoke about it directly, I knew he was dying, so of course he knew, too.  I cannot even begin to put myself in his shoes, to have on my mind that I was going to die soon.  That my life was going to be cut short before I was ready.  That I was leaving behind the love of my life and two kids.  He wasn't much of a deep talker, so he didn't often verbalize to me how he was feeling.  But all these little things that he did and said make me realize now how horrible it must have been for him. 

I'm so glad I gave him all the hugs that I did.  When he died, he knew he was loved.