Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reflecting

I don't want to be this woman. I met her yesterday at work. She was absolutely beautiful, elegant even in casual clothing, beautifully coiffed silver hair that avoided old lady cliches without being inappropriate for her age. Her voice was deep, soft and lovely, and she had the posture of a queen. She was surrounded by family and friends -- three generations of women gathered to help her grand-daughter find her wedding gown. There was obviously much love, respect and humor in this group of ladies. She was the type of woman I see and think I want to be like that when I'm her age.

As her grand-daughter was at the cash register paying for her gown, she sat at my desk, and I began the small talk that's part of my job when people are waiting. She began to tell me how everyone in the group was related, and then went on to tell me quite a bit about her husband's sudden death ... twenty years ago. Thinking about weddings and marriage in a bridal boutique is inevitable. The chain from a grand-daughter's upcoming nuptials to a grandmother's wedding and marriage is shorter than the years would indicate. I could understand why this was on her mind.

Since yesterday was the second anniversary of my husband's death, I was, shall we say, a bit obsessed with the topic. My day had begun with a visit to the cemetery where I was pleased to find that someone else had placed flowers. I later found out that they didn't come from my in-laws. I love that other people still think of my husband. For a couple of days, I've been in the long, familiar dance of memories -- good ones that made me smile and then cry and painful ones that literally made breathing hard until the tears came in shuddering gasps. The worst are the questioning ones about his mental and physical health and what could have been done. Doing the PAD challenge has made this somewhat worse. I mine my interiors to write poetry, and almost everything I've written has this in it somewhere.

Two years ... I'm still working through the 27 years my husband and I had together. It dominates my thoughts. Compare two years to 27, and it's not much, but I don't want to be here in another twenty. I don't want this to be the subject that comes up with a stranger in a random conversation because there's a wedding in the family.

My husband's death naturally left a huge void in my life, and I haven't filled it. There have been other losses of different kinds that have made this feel worse. I both respected and indulged my loss yesterday with swimming in the memories and tears, but my conversation with this beautiful woman yesterday reaffirmed the growing knowledge that I have to fill my life with something else. I will not let loss become the defining statement of my life.


4 Comments:

Blogger Celeste said...

I can feel the conviction in your words. 20 years from now you may reflect back but you will have 20 years of good living in between today and that day. Maybe we will be on a cruise together...

April 27, 2010 9:37 AM  
Blogger Christina K. Brown said...

Our losses define us but ought not become us. Peace my friend. Sometimes Gil's death is on the tip of my heart and sometimes it is the shadow of what real love feels lime. Death releases us to love again...and it is hard to not compare. New love is not better or worse, only different.

April 27, 2010 9:41 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

As always, Christina is full of wisdom, so I'll just add "what she said."

April 27, 2010 10:02 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

There is no timetable for grief (not an original theory, I know.) It seems to me you are on the right track. You will be who you will be twenty years from now, and that loss will be part of you. But it will not BE you.

April 27, 2010 9:45 PM  

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