Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Laundry Epiphany

A few weeks ago as I was doing laundry, I noticed that I had already done a few loads of dark laundry, and still had more to go. My first thought was "that's weird, I don't ever remember washing this many dark clothes before."

For whatever reason, this thought took me by surprise. It may seem obvious to some of you, because we have 7 people in our house now, so of course I would be doing more laundry. But that wasn't the realization. It was because most of Steve's laundry is dark - he prefers darker colors. And I realized that for some reason, I was surprised that it wasn't like Jeremy's. And my subconscious automatically went to "before" meaning before Jeremy died. 

What's weird is that I rarely compare Steve to Jeremy. They have a lot of similar qualities - mostly the good ones - which is why I love them both so. But they are very different. Whenever those thoughts come in my head, I try to be gracious to myself and to Steve to remember that not only is he different, but so am I. But, I'm human and I love two men both at the same time so I'm not so naive to think that those thoughts wouldn't creep in once in awhile. 

Jeremy didn't do it that way. What would he say in this situation? Steve handled this so much better than Jeremy would have. Jer would have handled this better. Jeremy would have known what do about this problem. Jeremy would remember this reference. Steve hasn't figured this part out yet. Jeremy never figured that out. I wish Steve and I could have share this memory, too. I wish Jeremy wasn't missing this.

The truth is, these kinds of thoughts can plague widow(er)s in new relationships. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I'm ok with wrestling with these things. Maybe it's because I won't ever apologize for loving and continuing to love Jeremy. Maybe it's because I won't apologize for loving Steve as much. Maybe it's because Steve is great about talking through these things with me without feeling threatened. Either way, these fleeting thoughts remind me that I have lived two separate lives that continue to overlap in my heart. And that's ok.

Today, as I was folding laundry, I remembered that thought from a few weeks ago and smiled. The bottom line is that I miss doing laundry for Jeremy and grieved a weird, tiny piece of my life that maybe I hadn't before. And I smiled because I was thankful to be able to do laundry for Steve, whether it was dark, light, or pink and polka dotted (ok, that might not be so great!). It's ok that it looks different. It should. They're both equally important and meaningful. One does not negate the other.

Sometimes all it takes is a silly moment of folding the laundry to change your world.


  1. I get this.
    I’m not remarried but I have been seeing someone for a number of months.
    Although I try to make a conscious effort to not compare this new man to my late husband, my mind does occasionally go there.
    One of the first few realizations I had about their differences were actually just pleasant observations. I noticed new guy enjoyed doing work and puttering around his home & car, where that wasn’t the case with Dave. (He was handy enough, but quickly grew tired of maintaining our older home and certainly didn’t like it.)

    Although I initially enjoyed the fact that they were very different, it didn’t take long before a few situations arose where I couldn’t help but think – ‘Dave would never have done/said that’.
    But I would never want new guy to be the same. Dave can’t be replaced. And it’s really just not fair to try.
    Unlike you, I’m not comfortable discussing Dave in any great lengths with new guy. (This is my issue not his. I just don’t want him to feel like he’s being compared.)

    It’s been over 2 1/2 years and my heart & brain still longs for Dave.
    It’s only natural. We were married 26 years. It’s unrealistic to think that somebody else can just step in and fill the void. (It helps – but it’s like the whole square peg/round hole thing.)

    I like to compare it to having children. You can love more than one child, right? And although it’s natural to compare children, you wouldn’t want them to be the same. Their differences make them special.

  2. I dream about getting remarried. I know it cannot be a driving force in my transformation that God is doing, but it certainly is a longing and desire. Though, I believe, for me, and new "Mister" will have to be heaven sent, just like my husband was though he is no longer on this earth. I never thought I would or could love again, but about 6 months after my Marty died, it became obvious I think I can. Obvious, because I began to trust the people that were helping me. I never thought I could trust again. When I realized I could, have and others have proved trustworthy. I began to see, that with the right person at the right time, in the right relationship, God could do a marvelous work. I hope that is in what I call my Plan B with God. He knows all, but I don't. Sometimes would love a glimpse of "in two years" what will my life look like? It's only going to be two years in February without my man, and while it seems like yesterday, it also seems like forever. Thanks for sharing. It seems like you have a healthy approach to your new life.