The first week was the most difficult. The quiet, so quiet. The sudden end of activity that consumed my life for over 2 years, not to mention the interaction with my spouse for 32 years just stopped, everything, just stopped! I remember our very first conversation in April of 1975 and our last words of July 29th 2010 – mind boggling to think of all the things we shared between those two dates. The house we bought together does not feel like our house anymore. It feels like a place where I am staying for the summer and I had better maintain it perfectly before the owners return. The washcloth she left on the sink in one of the bathrooms, still folded in her way, elicits a memory and an emotion.
Slowly the pressure that I had become accustomed to, emotional and physical, the knot in my back, the growling of my stomach is dissipating. When a problem such as a computer virus, car issue, maintenance repair occurs, I feel annoyance, but not the impulsive “This has to be fixed immediately.” When she was sick I felt everything had to be in working order, that somehow a perfectly running home (Which is impossible) was the closest thing to curing her and making her life bearable, it gave me a sense of control and now that is not necessary.
I think about the people that shared wonderful, affirming memories during her funeral and yet wonder why some people who knew us for years have not even responded. There are times I reflect back at our marriage and think of the disappointments, the mistakes we both made, yet amazed and grateful we found a way to make it work for 32 years. I think of how stubborn she was, how when she turned 50 she became angry at my “Nagging” because I told her it was time for a physical and she ignored doing so because she was so active - it doesn’t do any good to ruminate it but my thoughts still go there. I think of one of our last conversations, when she told me she was grateful for what God had given her, that she was ready to die. Then in the same breath told me what we both needed was to go on a cruise in two years and that I could push her in her wheelchair on the deck and that it would not be that much work for me, (Ya right!) and I smiled at her enthusiasm. I miss her very, very much.