Friday, September 20, 2013


I am jealous of old people. 

Every single old person that I see walking down the street. I am jealous of them. 
The bitter ones. 
The wrinkled up, exhausted by life ones. 
The healthy ones.
The sick ones.
The ones who have made it into their late 80's or even early 90's, and who are still walking side by side with their partners. 
The husband who grabs his wife's fragile hand, pulling her up that last small step, into their favorite diner. 
The wife who rubs soothing lotion or cream into her husband's back and neck, in places where he can no longer reach on his own. 

I am so jealous of them, I cannot see straight. Jealous that they exist. Confused as to why they get the honor of living so many years, and my husband doesn't. Angry that they know what it's like to spend decades upon decades with the same person by their side. Decades. It's the most beautiful word in the atmosphere, because we never made it to decades. Not even one decade. Not even half of a decade. We never even made it to 5. 

It bothers me. It bothers me more than it should, perhaps. It bothers me that so many numbers move forward each year. 

The dates move forward: 2011, 2012, 2013 ... 

My age moves forward: 39, 40, 41 ....

Time moves forward. Time always moves forward. But when it does, the number of years that my husband and I were married will always remain the same. Four and a half years. Never more. Never. 

That hurts. 

My marriage made me less afraid. Less afraid of life. Less afraid of growing old. Getting sick. Watching other people grow old or get sick. My marriage made me want the honor of being old together. Living life together. Facing pain and laughter and horrors and adventures and many ordinary, nothing special days - together. 

My husband used to do an impression of himself as an old guy. It was hilarious, and frighteningly accurate as to how he probably would have been. "I can't wait to be old!" He would joke with me. "It's gonna be awesome! I get to do whatever the hell I want, and everyone just writes me off as the old, senile guy. I can kick kids off my property and yell at people and drive all over the damn place, not looking out for anything or anyone. I can say inappropriate things and sit in my own filth and nobody will think twice about it. How great is that?"

 He moved from Florida to New Jersey to be with me, so I always used to tell him that one day, we would move back to Florida together. When we are old and ready to croak - just like everybody else. We always laughed about what we would be like as an old couple, going to the Golden Corral for the $9.99 buffet at 4pm. Helping each other up those stairs. Home by 7 to watch "Murder She Wrote." 

It's not fair. I don't know how to grow old alone. I don't wanna do it alone. I need my teammate, my other half, so that I can be less afraid again. How am I supposed to do this without someone there to hold up my fragile bones? I know I shouldn't think about this stuff. I know. I should stay in the present. Live for today. But it's my nature. I'm a worrier. I can't help it. I lay awake at night, thinking about being old. Thinking about having to one day face the death of my parents - without my husband by my side. How the hell am I supposed to do that??? HOW??? The very thought of it gives me chills, and makes my skin sweat. Facing things that are scary, without you. Forever. 

That hurts. 

Time moves forward. Life moves forward. But our marriage stays stuck at just over 4 years, and you will never be an old man. I will have to be an old woman, and you will never be an old man. 

What would you have looked like? How would you have acted? I will never know those things. But I do know this ....... 

When I am 42 next week, you will still be 46. When I am 50, you will be 46. When I am 70, 80, 90, gone ... 

You will be 46. You will always be 46.
And time will keep pushing on .

NOTE: Since I have started writing at "Widow's Voice", I have been sharing Fridays with Chris Weaver, the sole widower expressing his voice amongst the sea of widows here. I always loved reading Chris' Friday posts. Not just because I was getting the male perspective, but because he is a good writer, and his words carried such truth and promise in them. Last week was Chris' last blogpost here - for now. For awhile. Never say forever, because you just never know. But for the immediate future anyway, Chris has moved forward to conquer his next chapter, and I wish him all the best. So, with that being said, I am honored to now be writing here and coming to you live each and every Friday. I look forward to laughing and crying and sharing with you all, and as always, thank you so much for reading. 


  1. As always Kelley, you've summed up my feelings exactly. I know it's wrong to be jealous of and almost hate the old couples and old men I see, but I do. I always wanted to see how C's wild eyebrows would turn white and get even wilder and now I never will. It hurts so much.
    I'm also very scared of growing old by myself and dealing with all the things you mentioned without him by my side.
    hugs as always.

  2. Many young people who have diseases that never have a chance to marry in life. They look at us and wish they had that chance. Many, many never get to experience what you and I had. Weither it was 4 or 34. Your 42, I'm 70. Now we can go on with we had that experience. Life and marriage is that way, we don't pick our time young or old, but go on in our life to live and love and experience pain .

    God Bless

  3. Went to a play at a community theater last night. There were so many old couples tenderly holding hands and helping each other up stairs just as you wrote. I wept inside. The first week after he died, I obsessively thought about the fact that time would march on and I would grow older but he would forever be frozen in my mind as a younger gorgeous man. Your writing was perfectly well timed. I'm glad you will be here writing each week.

  4. Yes, I get it. One of the hardest things for me to get used to was when I became older than my husband had ever been.

  5. Oh how I relate to this, next year my in-laws will have been married 60 years, longer than my hubby was alive. We got 23 years together it was supposed to be forever, how come they get all that time, to watch their children grow up, marry have children and grandchildren of their own. I feel cheated and resentful,

  6. Thank you for sharing...I don't go into as much detail about the future we lost because I think I would get lost in the losing, and my little kids need me. But the idea that we didn't have decades either, not one, that slays me. We had just celebrated our 8th anniversary exactly three weeks before he died. I am in a young widows/widowers support group at my local Hospice. Almost everyone there had their husbands for decades too, and it just makes me so jealous. Sigh

  7. I got to spend 28 years with my lovely wife, but I so relate to this post. When we celebrated 25 years we talked about what we might be doing on our 50th, now that will never happen.

    We did a joint celebration with Laura's mother, who turned 75. We joked about her turning 100 and living with us. We would have been turning 74 for our 50th. So not an unreasonable age to reach.

    Alas, accidents happen and tear our hopes, dreams, and happiness asunder.

  8. Kelley, your comments and thoughts echo my own. I, too, lie awake at night, unable to sleep, scared of aging alone without my hero, my protector. I, too, see older couples and ask God why he took my husband, the love of my life. We were together 16 years when he died unexpectedly 2 years ago. I knew the love of my life would protect me always. My fearless husband was a retired Air Force fighter pilot. He was fearless in everything he did. Now, I feel like a child whose parents left her alone in the dark. I keep asking why, why us. The panic clings to me and visits me at night; will I ever feel safe again? I keep asking why God took the love of my life away. Please God give me some peace and less of this pain.

    1. Anon, we have lots in common. My husband was also my forever protector, which is why I feel so unsafe again without him here. He was a paramedic, and, like yours, an Air Force Vet who served in Desert Storm. He was a Flight Crew Chief. He made sure the planes were safe. And , like yours, he died suddenly and unexpectedly. We had no kids, no home yet (rented) and were just beginning our marriage. Hugs to you xoxo

    2. It's such a small world, Kelley - my husband was a retired Air Force veteran, too - F-16 avionics, and he also served in Desert Storm. Which aircraft did your husband work on? I remember it seemed that Allen knew everyone in the F-16 world. He died in '09 at the age of 47, in a car accident caused by a stupid, inattentive old man. I appreciate your posts.

    3. Wow. I would need to look it up, but Im pretty sure it was F16s ... somewhere he has a picture of him standing next to his plane ... Ill have to go find it and report back to you:) Imagine if they knew each other ... wouldnt that be amazing?

  9. Beautifully written from the heart, as always, Kelly.

  10. oh shit you nailed it. harmon was 58. his 60th birthday almost killed me because he never made it. my 60th birthday almost killed me because i made it and he didn't.

  11. I think we all think about this, Kelley...I know I do. Some days I am perfectly content with being alone, focusing on my family and friends and strengthening those relationships....RIGHT NOW. But FOREVER... that's a whole different ball game. I'm only 40. I could have 40 more years here. Not particularly likely, I don't think, having already had cancer could happen. And that is a long time to be alone, to NOT have my elbow-holding, door-opening, NatGeo watching old grump of a husband by my side. I totally relate. You're not alone being alone. (((hugs)))

  12. Welcome, Kelley. Thank YOU so much for writing.

    We all know to have someone there, by our side, day to day, dealing with lifes stuff, makes whatever it is so much easier. I'm facing his age on my next bday, already stressing about it, can't find a deep enough hole to crawl in. I feel guilt because he was there for me and pulled me along in several life threatening situations, and I couldn't do anything when his cancer struck. I lay awake many a nights, too, trying to figure it all out, to no avail. Knowing my Dad (91) will not be here forever, Mom died the same day my husband did, one year later. I like to think my husband was there to greet her, while Dad and I are holding each other up here. Wonder who will hold me up when he departs.

  13. Your haunting writings have meant a lot to me. You speak my fears. Security and stability are so important. No matter what happens in life, it is so much easier when there is someone to shoulder it with. My Marc was that. Somehow I hope to settle down in this home, where I know I am welcome to stay forever. Where I know there will be crazy fights. Where I also know he is as willing to sacrifice as I am. Where I know I may not be treated like I want to. Daddy warned me though, that I was going to have to take care of myself. He said that he had spoiled me so bad we could ask no man to take care of me. What a journey this thing called life is. Thank you, Kelley, for helping those who've lost spouses, and those that haven't, and mostly imagine it in jest ;)

  14. Always - we age they stay eternally fixed.
    When I see old people now, holding hands, tottering along in their togetherness. I think "bless you" . . . . bless you and let you have the love I am denied.

    We had 36 years together. I would have given up the rest of my life to have him one year longer. He died two days after our wedding anniversary. The love of my life.

    Thanks Kelly

  15. So much of your feelings are mine! I too am jealous of old people; esp if they are walking on a path, holding hands, delighting in each other. I wanna take them out at the knees! I know that is wrong and I never would do it, but that is how I feel!!! I wanted that life. Instead I got my husband dying at 50 years old. So much more living we had to do. Don't much want what I have been given. I know that is sad because there really is a ton of good in my life, but very hard to see it without my beloved at my side. One day at a time. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I have been feeling the same way as you and I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

  17. Thanks for beautifully expressing your feelings. And i so want to agree with you. But my experience with older couples has been so much different. My parents, my in-laws parents & my aunts&uncles weren't so sweet and considerate to each other. There was gentleness and caring, but there was bickering too, the same annoyances causing a repeat of the same fights, generating the same frustrated feelings. But that's just been my experience; most everyone else seems to have had wonderfully peaceful & contented elderly in their lives. So it is possible! I just know that it doesn't always happen, so i'm not going to torture myself thinking "if we would have grown old together then i'd be happy ", because it doesn't always work out that way.