Discover more from Constant Commoner
Let's Just Pretend I'm Okay and Move On
Then we'll both be happy.
I’m basically alone these days, trying not to think about that word ‘widow’, but I would hate for you to feel sorry for me. That’s what drives most grieving people crazy. We’re so, so sad but in order to keep from wallowing in it we have to try and stay away from sympathy.
When you go to give us hugs, when you say, ‘Oh, no! I’m so sorry!’ it’s like turning on a valve. One minute we’re fine and the next minute the tears are flowing and we’re trying to squeak out an answer, but our voices have gone into High C range and you stand there wishing you were anywhere else, trying to think of what you can say next that will get us back to something nearer to normal.
You’re sweet. I know you care. And I know how uncomfortable this is, because I’ve been there. I’m the worst at thinking of something to say to someone who is sad and crying. Should I touch them? Should I just stand there silently and let them get it out? Should I say, ‘It’s okay to cry’ when we both know it’s okay to cry but we’re still both uncomfortable as hell?
So let’s get this out of the way, even though I’m the one who brought it up: I’m going to be sad. I’m going to cry at the drop of a hat, never knowing what’s going to trigger it, or if anything is. Maybe I’ll just cry. I deserve to cry. I lived with him for 65 years, 8 months, and two days. We shared a life together for 23,986 days, and I loved him for most of it.
I want him back, but I want him back whole and healthy and able to do the things we always did together. I want to take off driving with him and not know where we’re going until we get to a crossroad, where we have to make a decision. I want to sit quietly with him until one of us remembers something that makes us laugh. Or sigh. Or triggers something that has us talking until one of us has to get up and pee.
I want those hugs
I’m not obsessed with grieving. I’m actually enjoying whole parts of living alone, and I’m almost past feeling selfish about it. Everything is about me now. That’s a first and it’s going to take me a while.
But my concentration is off, and that’s not a good thing for a writer. I can’t keep writing about this one thing, yet my circumstance is ever on my mind. It’s part of the self-examination I’m going through, and much of that is pure chaos. I have no idea what I’m doing. Every little ache and pain sends me into near-paralysis, thinking I’m going to lose this independence just when I’ve finally got it.
I keep looking at my finances, wondering if I’m going to make it, and one day I think I will and the next day I’m not so sure. I’m buying for one now and suddenly I’m cheap as hell. Hamburger is $5 a pound! Hamburger! Fifty dollars to fill my tank!
There has to be something else, and there is: the world outside of me is a raging inferno. I think I have problems? My life doesn’t begin to compare to the millions and millions out there who live lives of utter fear and devastation every single day. Our own democracy is dying a slow death while we go on pretending it isn’t. I want to get back to writing about the things I’ve cared about my whole life; those thing outside myself that require some attention to advocacy. But I have to be able to concentrate in order to find the truth and do it justice, and I’m just not there yet.
I’m hoping it’ll come.
This is the view out my window. Small miracles are happening out there. The leaves are popping on the trees. The daffodils have bloomed. I’m finding morel mushrooms just steps from my porch. The geese and mergansers are clustering on the water, which tells me they’re about to have their babies. Any day now I’ll see a string of tiny goslings bobbing on the waves, then climbing over the rocks to find something to eat in my grass. It’ll be enchanting until they poop themselves out of an invitation to my space.
I’ll be okay. It’s only been a couple of months. I have plans that don’t involve crying, and I’ll get to them.
So how have you been?
Constant Commoner is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.