I am a lion---a cowardly lion but a lion none the less. I am fighting to prove (if only to myself) that the second-year-is-the-worst is a myth for some of us. I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t want to be pre-programmed into believing the second year is going to be worse than the one I just came through without examining the concept more closely. In another widow’s blog on this topic she said words to the effect that her load was lighter in her second year but her ability to cope was breaking down and that makes perfect sense to me. That armor we wear around our hearts gets heavy after awhile and we have to set it down. If we accept this idea then maybe we have to accept that grief is no longer the main issue in the second year. Maybe finding a better set of armor is---one that is lighter and less battle scarred---is what we have to work on?
I baked bread for the first time since Don past away. I used to bake bread every three days. It was my only claim to fame in the kitchen. It impressed and pleased my husband and brought back memories of growing up in a farm family where his mother cooked everything from scratch. But I always felt like a baking fraud because I was making artisan no-knead bread, the kind where you mix up a big batch and can keep it in your refrigerator for two weeks and it gets better every time you’d bake a loaf from the batch. Don and I could eat a loaf of artisan bread in three days but for the very first time a loaf of bread I baked got stale before I could use it up. Not wanting it to go to waste, I made croutons for the first time in my life. Then I had to make a pot of soup so I’d have something to eat with the croutons. All this soup, croutons and bread eating made me gain two pounds this week so now I’m kicking myself for wanting to be a lion in my kitchen again. I think the gods of good examples just wanted to give me something to illustrate how it’s not just the big things that change in a widow’s life.
I have a book on how to teach dogs circus tricks. Levi can do a few things like the ‘shell game’ where he finds a treat planted under one of three cups and he can do the ‘which hand’ trick that also depends on a dog’s sense of smell. I used to have a poodle that could jumps through loops and other entertaining stuff you’d see at a circus. But the trick that always got the most laughs and attention was when my dad would tell his dog to wag his tail after I’d show off my poodle’s many accomplishments. If wasn’t fair. I’d worked so hard at teaching tricks and everyone with a dog knows that voice tone alone can get any dog to wag its tail. If there is a lesson to learn here it’s that a dog is at its best when he’s just being a dog.
So here I am. I’ve shed my first year’s widow armor and I’m feeling like a dog dressed up like a lion and paraded around a child’s circus themed party. As a widow at the start of her second year I’m expected to act a certain way when inside I’m just an old dog trying to learn new tricks. Can I learn to bake a half a loaf of bread? Maybe. Probably. I’m king of the jungle, aren’t I? I can do things other beasts of the night don’t try and I most definitely don’t cry over making a batch of croutons. Well, almost never. When I’m wearing my lion’s costume I roar instead, “I made a batch of frigging croutons!” ©