“Hey! How are you?” she asks.
With that question a hand is placed gently on my upper arm. Her eyes are round, her voice soft and kind, as if she were talking to a person who is old.
I wonder “Do I look ill? Is the lack of sleep that apparent?”
My friend wants to know, to
how I’m doing.
Only her assumption is that I’m not doing well. After all,
And all I want to do is smile and say “I’m doing….
GREAT! Today, the kids got ready for school by themselves and this included Langston (age 14) folding his laundry. The very same laundry he put into the wash AND the dryer by himself the night before.
I had to tell Ezra this morning as he dilly-dallied over his breakfast to “put down the book or I’d have to take it away from him." This same child, 2 months ago, I had to cajole into picking up a book.
Pallas is using me as her confidant (I know this will change) she comes into my room and we talk about friendships and bodies and nail polish color.
Me. Well, I closed my business and I feel free. I have an informational interview next week and you never know where those end up! Our new place is great. I like that there aren’t all these places to disappear to. If Langston is not in the great room then he’s in his bedroom or the bathroom. That’s it. No where else to look for him. And did I mention that it was 75 today? And I wore shorts that I couldn’t fit into when Art was alive because I am now healthy skinny not a holy-shit-my-husband-is-dead skinny? “
I want to tell her all of this. I want to go on and on and on to show her the other side of widowhood, the side that is beyond just getting through another day.
But I don’t. Because I also don’t want her thinking that it’s all OK again. I don’t want her to walk away from our conversation thinking I am “over” Art's death.
And then I feel guilty. Guilty for feeling good..
Guilty for thanking Art for dying. Without his death I would never have become 70% fearless. 89% authentic, and 100% alive. I really like all the ways I have been pushed to grow and expand and live.
Guilty because the kids and I are actually ok. We laugh and have fun without him, without thinking about him.
Guilty because the intense bouts of grief come further and further apart from each other. I can go weeks without crying about him. I can go days without yearning for him.
Guilty because most of the time, when I think of him, it is with sweetness, laughter and a deep sadness that doesn’t overwhelm me.
And honestly part of me doesn’t want to disappoint her. I want her to know that as a widow my life will never be "back to normal." I want her to know that I am still different from her and she absolutely CANNOT complain about her husband to me. I want her to know that it’s still a struggle – just less and less of one.
So instead of answering her, I simply change the subject.