What You Don’t See Essay #1

*originally published online 10.6.16

“Don’t believe me/When I say I’ve got it down” — John Mayer, Why Georgia

Yesterday I mentioned that we’re slowly (or quickly, depending on perspective) closing in on the 6 month anniversary of when I lost my hubby to prostate cancer.

The number one, unquestionable lesson I’ve learned is that every widow’s journey is different and unique. It’s complex and simple and painful, all in the same minute. It’s mental, emotional, physical, and otherworldly at times. What I experience, have experienced, will experience is 100 percent me. Sure, there are common threads we can all pull through the tapestry: grief, loss, work, anger, relief, compassion, forgiveness, but they fluctuate in varying degrees.

One of these threads is the things we can’t bring ourselves to do. Admitting these seeming trivial bits make us feel we should be sent to the nearest funny farm for a fitted white jacket. But they’re the tiniest little ways that connected us with our spouse, and, in some cases, had a little bit more meaning and soul in them during the time we spent together.

As days roll into months, we get brave. We get a surge of courage, we feel our heart want to try, we try. We either fail miserably and end up sobbing and hurt, or we conquer another mountainous molehill. Maybe some of them we’ll slay, and some will just linger inside forever.

Things I Still Can’t Do as a Widow After 6 Months

  1. Listen to: Bob Seger, Billy Joel, the Eagles, Boston, Alabama, any Ohio State Marching Band CD, Tom Hamilton
  2. Watch: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Dan Patrick
  3. Read about: Chemistry, local high school sports, General Patton
  4. Talk about: Central Crossing HS anything
  5. Listen to, watch, read about, talk about: The Cleveland Indians, prostate cancer, chemotherapy
  6. Open his closet door, except to put in a new pile of random clothes or a stray pair of golf shoes
  7. Move his golf bag from where it blocks the mower
  8. Grocery shop
  9. Forgive certain people for not coming to see him because they didn’t want to
  10. Take the pillowcase off of the pillow that was under his head when he stopped breathing
  11. Throw away the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch he bought the last time we shopped together
  12. Throw away the box of Rice Krispies he insisted on buying so I could make those god-awful Rice Krispie treats with peanut butter that he loved and I hated