Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grief: Silly Widow Things I've Done

Decided to talk about the silly things I've done since Artie died after all this seriousness.  Not that I wasn't clutzy and slightly absurd when he was alive.  My daughter once told me that she felt bad because I was  "perfect" and she wasn't.  I started telling her stupid mom stories.  There wasn't any shortage of those. :)

When Artie first died I always put my clothes on backwards.  I knew I was doing this and would look at the tag, carefully arrange my shirt or my pants and then put them on backwards anyway.  Sometimes it would take me two or three times to get it right.

I don't do that anymore but my concentration sometimes disappears.  I will carefully fill out a check - look it over - and then get it returned because I forgot to sign it.

The other night I put a plastic thing of tapioca on the bed because I was going to eat it while watching DVDs before I went to sleep.  I forgot about it and when I got to bed - I sat on it.  I thought - "Thank goodness Artie isn't here to see this!"  I distinctly felt him say, "Are you kidding, of course I saw you!" and he was laughing.

On his birthday I buy him a cupcake and light a candle and wait for him to blow it out.  He doesn't - but one year I found a note from him in a poetry book I hadn't opened in years telling me how much he loves me and not to be insecure.  It's in a frame now.

I have his slippers next to the bed.  I tried to put them in the closet but it didn't feel right.  I know he doesn't have feet anymore - at least not people feet - but I like keeping his slippers waiting - just in case.

Sometimes when I come home I say, "Hi honey.  I'm home.  I must have just missed you.  See you later." 

Sometimes I walk down the street with my hand slightly cupped outward.  No one else would notice - but I'm pretending he's holding my hand.

I usually don't wear my wedding rings when I go out any more (not that I've met anyone) but I put them on as soon as I get home.  I love wearing them.  After almost two years I feel married.  I like being Mrs. Artie Warner and I hate things like tax forms where I have to put one name instead of two.

The other day I was in a drugstore.  It was a self pity day and I walked past the card section.  I thought - I can buy myself a sympathy card!!  I wasn't planning to actually do it - but I found one with a quote from Thoreau "Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up."  I liked it so I bought.  Now I wonder if I will mail it to myself.  The idea that Artie laid down his life in his season.  I've often felt that he died at the right time for him - just the wrong time for the rest of us.  He, with all his fear and pain, managed to live out each season of his life with great beauty and joy - in my eyes, anyway.  His always being available to other drunks and addicts after he got sober taught me to make myself available to other people who are suffering because someone they love died.  As long as I keep telling our stories he lives on.  He was someone who also managed to carry spring far into winter. I suppose that's my hardest task - to make as many flowers bloom as I can in what seems to me since his death some weird kind of eternal winter.

I sleep with his Yankee jacket and take it with me when I travel.  I know he's not in his old jacket - he's not really even in his ashes in the plastic bag in the stuffed leopard I cuddle.  I just need something tangible to hold on to - and those are the closest things I have.  I know his spirit is all around me but I miss the face and voice that used to contain it.

I know because I am still alive I am allowed to fall in love again and get married again.  I don't know if not wanting to do that - not working at finding someone else - is silly.  It would be fun to have someone else to share my life with.  Artie used to say always leave room for miracles and the inadvertant. 

I don't know which would be sillier - believing he is with me always and that he talks to me (it always feels like it comes from outside although I don't hear his voice) or not believing it.  I'm not delusional.  I know he's dead.  Yet believing we still have a relationship comforts me - allows me to live.  When he was alive he held my kite string and ran along the beach so I could soar - he still does that - even now.

Today is the Gay Pride Parade - especially festive because NY legalized same sex marriage.  Here's to love whatever forms it takes (as long as no one is exploited or hurt).  Here's to silly widow things - and also silly memories (we loved bad puns - what's the color of a burp? Burple.).  Here's to laughter and hope and having the frozen parts melt so our rivers can flow.  They can always freeze up again when we need them to.  Here's to Artie.  You're my heart.  Always.  Death can't touch that. A last silly widow thing - me sticking my tongue out at Death.  Or maybe another gesture...   xo

1 comment:

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