So Close But Yet So Far

The weirdness of a widow’s thoughts

*originally published online 9.28.16

I was almost proud of myself today.


I made it almost an entire day, at least from 5 a.m. until about 6:50 p.m. without crying once. And by crying, I mean even feeling that ball of tears start wadding itself up in the middle of my gut. You don’t have to have waterworks to cry, you know.

What did it? What broke through? While folded into child’s pose at the end of a sun-salutation filled yoga class, I went from :::beautifully meditative empty mind::: to thinking about my house. Several people have asked lately about staying in the house, if I’m going to move, how long I’ll tough it out (I hate having a pool, too much work for a now-single woman who hates bathing suits), etc., etc., etc. My standard answer has been that I’d stay for two more years, which will give me time to clean and get rid of/declutter/downsize the last 25 married years of my life. But somewhere along the line, I’ve begun thinking that I will stay here as long as Omar is alive.

Who’s Omar? My dog. My girl dog with a boy’s name. My husband’s best friend. His 40th birthday present. (He named her after his favorite Cleveland Indians shortstop). A 65 pound, gray-bearded black lab and terrier mutt mix born on Valentine’s Day 2002, who rode home with us, all 5 pounds of fluff, on April 6th, 2002, in a cardboard box from the county pound. Don’t do math, she’s 14 now and missing her dad nightly. She’s strong and healthy, as healthy as a 14 year old dog can be, and I don’t want to uproot her to make her learn a new house at this age.

Isn’t it funny that my biggest fear in life for many, many years was, “What am I going to do with Paul when Omar dies, because he won’t be able to handle it?”…and now, that’s not really a question?

So, folded into child’s pose, head on the floor, this thought broke through my carefully cultivated quiet mind, and startled me with the mental announcement that if I indeed waited until Omar passes away (here in the house) of old age, the same house where her dad died in April, that will be two deaths in the same house. Was it my destiny, my lot in life to buy this house in 2006 because it would serve as the final place on earth where two of the beings I loved most died? Was it coincidence? Do I just think morbid, weird stuff that no one else does?

The real reason I think I’ll stay is because I don’t want either of them to be alone not having each other, and it only makes sense to time it so they can have died in the same place. So for those of you wondering what random thoughts punctuate a widow’s waking hours, there you go…do I stay until the dog is gone, too? Or do I start fresh as soon as I can emotionally leave?