Til It’s Gone

Many deaths occur in the wake of your spouse’s untimely passing. There’s the death of your future plans, the death of your dreams for your life together, and the death of living life side-by-side on the oft- mundane, daily basis.

And it doesn’t end there.

It’s the death of the tiny, inconsequential things, too. Things that somehow seem big to me now. Things like: who else but him knows how many packets of Splenda I shake into my tall latte? (Six).

He’d swing by Starbucks, order my latte just the way I like it, and pop into our bedroom on Saturday mornings with my caffeine fix–and often a slice of their chocolate chip banana bread–in hand. It was basically our ritual, and I adored it.

B did innumerable sweet gestures for me like that; I always appreciated them, in that warmed, yet fleeting way you appreciate a kindness your spouse has shown you. You may give them an affectionate squeeze or a smooch and express gratitude. But then you move about your day, these small moments getting lost in the shuffle, lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

I can’t convey just how much I miss those acts of kindness B did for me. I will say that the every day absence of these sweet gestures has had great impact. They say, “Hindsight is 20/20,” and they’d be right. I value now, more than ever, the contributions–large and small–that my husband made in our marriage.

All that said, I would pay exorbitant amounts of greenbacks for someone to:

–Take out the damn garbage!

–Fetch me a latte, or barring that, donut flavored coffee from my Keurig, and deliver it to me in bed.

–Help me unload groceries from the car.

–Attend a movie with me so it’s not just me and my pathetic widda self shoveling in handfuls of buttery popcorn in between sobs, as going to the movies solo blows!

–Pick up takeout on nights when I don’t feel inspired (or have the impetus) to cook.

That’s the short list. What do we think, shall I check out–say– a cabana boy on craigslist??

Lol. Nooo. I don’t think I’m “there” yet….?

Not that I’ve ruled that out. Ahem.

Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.–Ephesians 4:32

WIDDA B

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The Lone Star State

The Lone Star State is usually a synonym for the largest state in the U.S., Texas, the nickname being a nod to the single star which is emblazoned upon the state flag. Texas is a grand southern state, the food country fried, the land open and wide, and the the people as hospitable as you ever could meet.

And the sky, a vibrant azure by day, and by nightfall, it gleams with stars (‘cept of course, if you are in Dallas or Houston, then it’s mostly taillights and neon signs). Any-hizzle, the starry night sky got me to thinking.

Forgive my stream-of-consciousness thinking patterns.

Stars are designed to shine, to emanate light. The biggest light payoff comes when stars are clustered around one another and reflecting off each other’s lights. This creates a collaborative effect-the shine more brilliant, the light distributed farther.

And you may have scanned the night sky and noticed stray stars here and there. They seem dim, by comparison to the clumps of stars you see elsewhere, them being deprived of reflective lights from nearby stars.

So it goes in Da Widdahood, as well (yes, I’m done with the astronomy analogy, sigh-o-relief)!

A well known saying in widda circles is that becoming widowed changes your address book. Or rather, in this age of advanced technology, your Contacts list in your cell phone.

Hate to break it to you (if this is news), but after about two or three weeks–at a push–the novelty of your Wid status wears off for folks. You find yourself not just alone–singular in this world built for coupledom–but lonely, also. Being widowed will hinder, if not dismantle indefinitely, some or all of your key friendships. Some friendships may go on hiatus–put on ice until the other party feels it’s “safe” to come around you again.

Why does this happen?

I’ve read quite a few books and other materials on the subject of being widowed, and from what I’ve cobbled together it’s due to a combination of reasons:

1. Associating with you reminds them of mortality: their own, their spouses, their children’s. The very entertaining of mortality overwhelms them, and that’s just plain unpleasant, right?

2. Your company unnerves them; they feel at a loss as to what to say or not to say, and your newfound propensity to burst into unexpected tears has them on edge.

3. You’re depressing. You find relief in talking about your deceased spouse, their lives, their deaths, and most subjects relegated to those themes. Seriously, wanna see a roomful of people scramble like hell? Just mention your spouse’s name. Trust me;)

4. You are no longer of their ilk: married and settled. You no longer surf the same wave-lengths. Married people with everyday married people problems mostly want to hang out with other married people with married people problems.

Those are just a few of the various reasons that I’ve gleaned from my resources and books. I’ve noticed this phenomenon seems to trend higher for women to experience (no, ladies, we have not cornered the market on good friendship conduct). It’s unfair,  and certainly it compounds your already exquisite pain, but there’s nothing you can really do to mitigate it.

Just know it’s not you, it’s them. Fair – weather friendships are more common than faithful ones, and the only way to discern which friendships are fair – weather and which ones are faithful, is when one party suffers a tragedy or trial.

I can certainly understand the desire to refrain from involving yourself in another person’s drama, but when that person is your close friend who has lost their spouse, I just think it’s rather selfish to sit back on your cushy lil laurels and abdicate the friendship.

For those of you widdas out there weathering this particular issue, big Wid hugs to ya. For those of you who are newly minted widdas, I’m sorry to be the purveyor of such an unsettling message. My hope is to arm you with information to prepare you in the event this happens to you.

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself—Romans 14:7.

WIDDA B.

DNA and other wid-ssues

DNA is something I’ve never given much thought to over my lifetime. The only time it really came into play for me was when I would be watching one of those decently predictable murder mysteries on Friday night’s television lineup. (The spouse did it, duh. And he had a secret girlfriend, naturally!).

You know the drill.

But DNA became it’s own precious entity to protect when my husband died. The last set of sheets we slept on remained on the bed for far longer than was hygienic due to my obsession with the presence of his DNA, skin flecks, drool and Lawd only knows what all else being on them. By sleeping on his side of the bed, I imagined I could “co-mingle” my DNA with his…or so my wid-logic went.

I was super defensive and on constant alert for anyone to–heaven forbid–move his personal effects or alter the position of anything he’d left lying around. (You should have witnessed the epic meltdown I had when my mom discarded an empty ginger ale can his very lips  had drank from). That toothpaste spittle of his smattered on the bathroom mirror? Yeah, that was there for a month. At minimum.

Three pairs of his shoes were dotted around the living room when he died, and for four months, that’s where they rested.(yes, I vacuumed around them, annnd???).

I could tell this unnerved friends and fam. They’d sail through the front door, and I could glimpse their eyes darting around to see whether or not this crazy widda had moved the shoes. Not so much, no. The room would be pregnant with unspoken disbelief on their behalf. It wasn’t the proverbial elephant in the room, it was the tennies in the room!

Wearily and a bit perturbed, I addressed this with my mom: yes, mom, the shoes are STILL there. She failed miserably trying to conceal her surprise that I’d noticed her noticing.

It  only goes to show you the strange significance that ordinary items take on once you’ve lost someone. If he/she touched it, it’s not trash, it’s declared a treasure. (Even if that treasure is the last wad of gum they yummed on, it makes no diff!).

And it’s okay. It’s a coping mechanism. Does me holding on to these items hurt anyone or pose a threat to myself? No and no!

So let it all lie, widdas, if it keeps whatever sanity in check you’re marginally clinging to. And those of you who visit us widdas…just pretend you don’t see it, and dear Lawd, don’t touch it!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind–1 Timothy 1:7

WIDDA B.

Da Widda, herself.

Chances are fairly decent that if you are reading this post, you’re either a widow/er, or know somebody who is. Myself, I like the term, “widda”…it seems less grim and dare I say, edgy?? The title of “widow” reminds me of spiders…predatory, and something to be avoided.

And today’s society and culture certainly purposes to AVOID anything unpleasant and depressing, which the widdahood certainly is.

So, how did I find myself in Da ‘Hood? I hope to share that journey on this blog–on this and future posts. But, summarily, three months after marrying the best man I ever met, we discovered he had a massive right-sided brain tumor during what was supposed to be a routine visit to an ENT physician for my husband’s chronic sinusitis.

I expected the doctor to pronounce that my husband would require sinus surgery, but the sinus CT scan had incidentally revealed this sinister finding, instead. Suspended indefinitely was any talk of his sinuses, and we were ordered to check into the hospital ER immediately. Urgently.

Whaa the whaa?? Surely, some sort of mix-up, some mistake…but…

The next couple of months were a frightful travail through two brain surgeries, consultations, and MRI’s. Then, the first seizure scare. And the second.

A year – and – – half later, my precious 37 – year-old husband was gone, leaving behind his 35 – year-old wife–me. We’d just moved into our first home a month prior, some moving boxes yet to be unpacked.

We were even planning children, as the medical community’s consensus by that time had deduced that because the tumor type could not be delineated, B could perhaps enjoy years – decades – of life expectancy before succumbing.

If only!

So, here I find myself almost a year into widdahood. I’m now 36, living in the home we bought, and still striving to make sense of it all. (Trying to make sense of the senseless is a fool’s endeavor, lemme tell ya, but nonetheless). I am a devout Christian–no, I’m not gonna preach at ya, because homegirl doesn’t aspire the pulpit–but expect to see scripture pop up from time to time. If it helps you, awesomesauce!

But, I’m not the judgy variety of Christian. Confession: this widda sports a tattoo (so scandalous!). And she enjoys the occasional adult umbrella beverage (someone alert the preacher)! I work in the healthcare field, adore reading, baths, and cooking.

That’s a bit about me.

I’m hoping to use this blog to collect and purge my thoughts, rant, offer encouragement and compassion, and detail my experiences as a widda. Maybe somebody out there will read this and know they are not alone on this nightmarish lil journey.

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love , be multiplied–Jude 2.

WIDDA B.