Friday, February 15, 2013

Widow - Party of One

This week, I was hit with a triple whammy of "suckage." (Is that a real word? If not, I just made it up. ) February 13th marked exactly 19 months since my husband's sudden death, and it also fell on a Wednesday, which was the day of the week he went into work and never came home. And then, to put a big 'ole ginormous cherry on this awfulness of a sundae, today was Valentine's Day.

My plan to protect myself was simple enough - go to work, stay away from all couples and happy people in love, and have dinner at my best friend Sarah's house; where the sarcasm, hilarity, and banter between us are served up right alongside the always delicious gourmet food.

Well, as I have been made harshly aware by the universe, plans do not always go the way we hoped. Dinner at my friend's place was great, but everything leading up to it was borderline ridiculous. Here's the problem: Im an Adjunct Professor at a University. Universities are filled with teenagers and super young people who are super enthusiastic about every little thing - especially Valentine's Day. Before my first class even began, as I sat in a perfectly innocent lounge-area, to, ya know, lounge .... a large gaggle of giggling girls appeared out of nowhere, like a nightmare, carrying red and pink balloons and hugging and falling into each other while squeeling in a sing-songy voice: "Oh My Godddd!!! Happy Valentine's Dayyyy!!!!!" "Oh My God! You too!"

Oh My God! Get me outta here!

Not being able to handle this Ode to St. Valentine display, I took my bags and walked over to the campus cafeteria to grab a quick breakfast. As I waited for my food, this horrific dialogue took place between me and the worker behind the counter:

Him: Happy Valentines Day to you! You have plans with your husband tonight?

Me: Nope. (no idea why he assumed that I was even married, but he refused to stop talking about it.)

Him: No plans? You no do anything with your husband? Does he work tonight?

Me: Nope. (in my head, Im thinking "Please please please stop saying the word husband. Please stop!!!)

Him: That's not good. Your husband needs to treat you nice today. Maybe you do something on the weekend, you and your husband? You go out on the weekend?


Of course, I didnt say any of this, because there was a huge line of people behind me and my face was turning beat-red, and I was seconds away from sobbing right there in the middle of the University Center. I also knew that this man wasnt trying to be rude, and he obviously had no idea that my husband is dead. And the last thing I wanted to do was embarass him and make him feel terrible when he was just making small-talk. Granted, it was the worst small-talk in the history of small-talk, but still .....

By the time the end of the day came around, I was so beyond ready to go home and sit with our two adopted kitties and just stare at the wall all night. And that's pretty much what I did tonight. Stared at the wall. But before I did that, I did this. I hope you enjoy it:

 Top 5 Ways to Annoy People In Love on Valentine's Day:

1. Stand in the cheap-candy aisle at a drugstore and approach all the guys about to buy awful Whitman's Samplers with: "Seriously? This is what you're going with? Dont even bother with the tacky bear holding a balloon on a stick thing. Now you're just being insulting."

2. Stand at the grocery store or gas-station, where men go to buy last-minute flowers, and yell out from a bullhorn: "Guys who dont give a crap - buy these! Tell your girl to ignore that weird, musty smell coming from the bouquet - we dont know what it is either! She can water these, but it wont help! These flowers will die suddenly and without warning - just like my husband!"

3. Go to a restaurant and give them the name "Widow", so that when your table is ready, they have to announce: "Widow - party of one. Widow???" Get a table alone, in the center of the room. Once the place is filled with happy couples, begin talking and giggling loudly as if another person is with you. Pull a rose out and present it to yourself, and say: "Oh baby! You shouldnt have! You're such a naughty boy! Let's go home!" Exit restaurant laughing up a storm with your imaginary partner, leaving everyone completely baffled.

4. Start your own line of Conversation Hearts and sneak them into the bags of normal ones in stores. Come up with classic messages such as: "Alone", "Everyone Will Die", "Be My Widow", "Be Mine - Until I Die Unexpectedly", "There's a Good Chance One of Us Will Die Soon", and "Will You Be My Valentine ... Cat?"

5. Attack Hallmark stores armed with a magic-marker. Draw sad faces, moustaches, and giant penises all over the Valentines cards. Hide behind display and laugh.

Or, just do what I did tonight, and sit in your dead husband's favorite old recliner chair, staring at the wall. I will try this whole "life" thing again tomorrow.


  1. Kelly, I'm so sorry you had such a horrible day, but I am glad it is over, glad you can still find the humor I. It, ands glad you have his chair to sit in

  2. Valentine's Day SUCKS!!! Thanks so much for the laugh. I sure needed it. My favorite is #4. I think I'm going to make my own list of conversation hearts. The thought actually gives me something to look forward to. Small steps.

  3. Kelley, thanks for the laugh!

  4. Kelley, you know, in a thousand little ways, people who totally mean no harm say awful that poor man whose feelings you chose to spare, rather than embarass him. A true kindness.

    I know your husband brought magic into your life. And I love that despite all the awful, you still find a way to find the funny.

  5. I spent Valentine's Day cursing at my deceased fiancee. Although it was not nice of me, it made me feel better. How dare he drop dead on me and leave me like that! He refused to take care of a heart condition that I and his 3 sisters (one sister is a doctor) kept begging him to follow up on. I hope he's happy about what he dd to himself and his sisters. I am never going to fall in love's all lies!

    1. Michele -
      My heart hurts so much for you and for the pain you're dealing with. This road is indeed hard to travel, and I imagine more so when we know that it could've been avoided.
      I think we all go through periods of being angry at the loved one who's no longer here. My husband died suddenly, of something we never knew was going on, in spite of having his yearly check up two weeks beforehand. But that didn't keep me from sometimes feeling angry that he wasn't here ...... that he left me to deal with the aftermath and with raising our two youngest teenage boys alone. I know that Jim would never have chosen to leave, and that my anger didn't make sense, but that didn't keep me from feeling it.
      And though your fiancee would never have chosen to die, you have every right to feel each feeling as it comes, anger included.
      I know that it seems dark and horrendous right now ...... it was for me, too ...... for a very long time.
      But I want to encourage you ...... keep breathing, keep putting one foot in front of the other (when you can) ...... and the inky blackness that you see all around you right now will slowly turn to a lighter shade of grey. As long as you keep going forward, as fast or as slowly as it takes for you, the colors will change, and very slowly they will become lighter.
      I'm glad that you found us. This is a safe place for you to feel and write about those feelings, whatever they are.
      We are here for each other ...... and for you.
      Keep breathing.

  6. My husband committed suicide 3 days after our home was foreclosed on. Valentine's Day is a joke. I like your list. Especially #5. Because that is truly how I feel. All my love only in my mind now. I spent the day in tears. That's typical, though, of most days now.

  7. Anon,
    My heart truly goes out to you and I'm so very sorry for your loss. I've been a widow for 10 months and I can't tell you how I dreaded Valentine's Day this year.

    I love your list Kelley. Although all of them are terrific, I especially like #3. I recently traveled to my son and daughter-n-law's home and decided it was time for me to find a restaurant and try to enjoy a meal "alone"! I felt like I had a big bull's eye on my forehead that stated "Widow Eating Alone". Not ready for this one apparently...

    This group has helped me move forward one day at a time. I don't know what I would have done in those first few months without the support of these amazing people who give so much of themselves by sharing their personal experiences. Thanks to all of you for your honesty and courage. Being a widow sucks!

  8. Great list. V-Day sucked a lot more than I thought it would - my husband and I never celebrated it really. He was more romantic about our anniversary (he remembered EVERY MONTH on the date that we first met to wish me a happy anniversary - for 7.5 years!) We never got to spend a V-Day as a married couple though, because he died 7 weeks after we were married. Hopefully next year will be better. Thank you for this post - it really does help to smile sadly at the black humor.

  9. Yeah - V-Day sucked for me this year. I always made a special day out of it for my partner (even tho he wasn't one to make a fuss...that was just his way). This year was the first one without my parnter Ron. I had always got a bouquet of red flowers before (roses or, last year, a pot of red tulips) and some wine and generally we had a special supper. I had decided I would get some red roses this year and take some out to the cemetery - went to the local florist, picked out a dozen roses and some baby's breath and took it up to the casher/wrapper. I asked her to hold it for a sec while I took another look around and I picked up a small bouquet of red carnations and took it back to her and asked her to split them into two separate bouquets as one was going to the cemetery and I would take one home. After she had split the bouquets, wrapped them separately and I had paid for them she pipes up "have a wonderful evening" - I looked at her and didn't know what to say - I was so hurt - as it wasn't going to be a wonderful day or evening...still hurts to even think about it... I write this on February 19th as this was aonther special day - Ron's b'day...will this hurt/paint ever ease up...


  10. Hi Kelly Lynn thanks so much for the laugh. The day after Valentines day I had to pay a bill and the women that helped me was very cheery, HVD! How is your day going? How was your VD? Are you married? My responses were short and to the point...ok, no, no. I did not want to be mean but did feel like telling, her "It all sucks, my fiancee is dead!" Thanks again fr NM.

  11. Kelley Lynn, my husband also died on Feb. 13th (2012) I'd wish I'd thought of the magic marker thing a month ago, since everytime I walked into CVS I felt an overwhelming urge to deface something. I even got the CRAZY idea that I was going to buy a valentines card and take it to the cemetery with me. Ummm..they don't make a Hallmark yet for our situation. Love your candy heart phrases...LOL Thanks for the chuckle.