I guess what I’m trying to say in around-about way that takes a detour to China is that I’ve decided to embrace the title of widow and turn the word into a badge of honor. Not that I am honored to be one. No, that’s not what I’m trying to say. I mean as long as I still call myself a widow rather than ‘single’ I am honoring my husband for how he enriched my life, how he made my life fun, secure and all the other good things we get from being in a committed and loving relationship. Don made me feel like there wasn't anything I couldn’t do if I set my mind to it. So I’ve decided to redefine the word ‘widow’ as it applies to my life.
What got me to thinking about this was re-reading all the posts I wrote in my first year of widowhood and observing that in contains few if any negative words about my husband. He wasn’t a saint. Should I be showing that in these pages? He did stupid guy stuff like hold the blankets over my head while he farted in bed and he once yelled at me when the neighbor backed his car into mine, doing hundreds of dollars worth of damage. “You should have known better than to park directly across from a driveway!” Don shouted. When I called him out on the fact that I was legally parked he said words to the effect that he was just trying to use it as a teachable moment for the teens that were helping us paint a house. Sure, Don. You just taught them its okay to raise your voice to a woman, you yo-yo! And for a stupid, ass reason!
In the end, I decided that bringing up the negative aspects of a dearly departed serves no purpose. Remembering all the good things and glossing over the rest is the natural way most of us remember those who have gone before us. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about dysfunctional families or marriages which mine wasn’t.) For a widow, over time the painful memories of dying and funerals turns bad dream-like and the shocking depth of early grief fades away right along with the other negativity. What is left is a rich tapestry of memories that gives us joy and, yes, even peace. Funny how that works---how times marches on, how the conductor of all living things keeps queuing us to find the tempo and jump back into life. We resist his attempts. We play notes in the wrong places hoping he’ll leave us along. But he doesn’t give up until we’re finally ready to find our place in the orchestra of life again. I’m not even sure we recognize it when we get to that point. We just wake up one day and realize we’ve found a rhythm that soothes us and makes the ‘widow word’ not hurt so much. That’s where I’m at now, at the one year mark. I still feel like a cello wanting to tell the world how I feel inside, but now I actually want to leave Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon behind and learn how to play Doce de coco. ©