I was watching The Today Show with Hoda & Jen recently. There was a segment with Bobbie Thomas who had lost her husband just 6 months ago. It’s true what they say, when you’re going through something, that’s all you see or read about.
I remember my husband asking me once, “Why are there so many commercials about cancer?” I told him that they were always there, but now that it’s personal to you, you’re paying more attention to it. Well, this is true now for me and grief and coping and dealing. So of course when Bobbie started to talk about her husband’s death – something that I wouldn’t have batted an eye at a year ago – it caught my attention.
I found a lot of comfort in Bobbie’s words – less crying doesn’t make you miss them less or, make the pain go away. She says grief is a riddle, it has no beginning or end. She smells his clothing for that familiar scent, which she knows may someday go away.
I realize this too, every day and all the time. When Steve first passed away, one of my sisters innocently said “You could probably get rid of his toothbrush.” I thought, no, I’m not ready to see just one brush in the medicine cabinet yet.
Steve carefully crafted a chevron pattern deck around our hot tub and soon enough, the boards will have to be replaced. As I age, I’ll opt for something lower maintenance and all his handiwork will be gone. Major household equipment that he was responsible for, like a garden tractor, will break down and that will also be gone. Things will no longer be “Steve’s,” but just mine.
When you’re in a relationship for so long, that sounds very selfish and greedy. Eventually, I’m sure, I’ll take over his closet space also, where I’ll go with his clothes, I don’t know yet, but his space will be gone and it will be mine.His cars will be gone, those he treasured, I’ll have more garage space, but I won’t have him.
As I renew policies… homeowners, car registrations, things that required his signature, I will no longer see him sign. In another year, it will be my signature on everything and his name will no longer be required. It doesn’t mean he no longer exists – in the physical world, yes, he is gone, but for me he’ll always be there calling my name every once in a while. I’ll hear him and then I’ll know I’m going to be okay.
And I’m okay with crying less in public, if I can help it. I try to keep my crying behind closed doors. It’s a shame, because when we’re happy and laughing in public, this is acceptable. But if you cry in public, you’re depressing or a basket case and it makes people uncomfortable. What’s the difference? After all, while they most likely be due to my pain and loss, my tears also might be tears of joy, to know that Steve is no longer suffering or in pain.