Friday, May 15, 2015

Things In Common

This might sound kind of silly or stupid or not at all important in the grand scheme of things related to losing one's life partner to death - but just bear with me, if you don't mind. It's how I've been feeling lately, and I feel the need to get these thoughts out.

There are a lot of things that my husband and I had in common. A lot of things. We connected through music, and met through music, so music was our biggest connector. We went to blues clubs and jazz clubs and rock concerts together, and would sit around our apartment playing CD's for each other and introducing one another to a new sound or a new band we had heard. My husband loved tennis. He almost went semi-pro in his younger days, but his mother didn't support his dreams to play, so he ended up joining the Air Force instead. Eventually, when he was done there, he became a paramedic, but tennis was always in his soul and he was playing right up until the day he suddenly died. He got me into tennis too. I became a huge tennis fan, and on our very first date (after almost 3 years of a long-distance relationship from Florida to NJ, where we hadn't yet met each other in person), I took him to the U.S. Open in New York, for 3 days in a row. We had a blast, and it became our annual tradition after he moved up here. We loved the Yankees together, and went to many games at both the old and the new Yankee stadium. We saw playoff games together, and he fell in love with baseball and the Yankees because of me and my love for the game. We were always doing that with and for one another - my dreams would become his dreams and his interests would become mine. Not out of any type of obligation or need to be together all the time (in fact, we were both extremely independent people and loved our time alone), but because there was always a genuine desire to find out more about what made the other tick. My husband Don was a smart man. He taught me things every single day. He loved history and science, and he loved solving puzzles and mysteries of any kind. We would watch shows like 48 Hours and he would always have it figured out in the first 5 minutes. "Oh yeah - the husband killed her. He wanted her life insurance money. And that cousin of his? He's in on it too. He looks shifty. I don't trust him." He was always right too.

And then there was the world of entertainment. When my husband moved his life out of Florida to come to New Jersey to be with me, he did not like New Jersey. At all. He hated the place actually, but he knew this is where I needed to be to live my dreams of being a performer, actor, comedian, writer. He believed in me and knew that Florida is not where I would find the most opportunity - New York was. And Don loved NYC. He loved that we lived minutes away from the city, and he loved it anytime we would go into the city and see a Broadway show or go to a concert or go to his favorite place, Central Park. I always thought it was the coolest thing having a husband who loved going to the theater with me. He loved musicals. I used to joke with him all the time: "You sure you're not gay?" (Being in the world of theater myself all my life, I rarely meet a straight man who isn't involved in the arts himself, who is into musical theater). He loved comedy. He came to most of my shows, but even more than that, we both had the same taste in comedy and what we found funny. He had a huge appreciation for the craft of comedy, and legends like Johny Carson, George Carlin, and Carol Burnett. And yet, he also loved today's comedy. We watched Conan and Letterman all the time together. He loved South Park, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm. There are so many things that we loved together and did together and watched together.

A lot of things, it seems, are coming to an end, or have come to their end lately. People retiring, shows going off the air, entertainers we loved dying or getting older - it is such a strange and lonely feeling to be nearing the end of these things, and to be doing it alone, instead of with my husband. When Derek Jeter retired last year, it felt to odd to be watching those last games and seeing all the hoopla and the tributes, without Don. One of our favorite shows to watch together, Mad Men, has it's series finale on Sunday. I will be watching it by myself, instead of having the commentary and the back and forth dialogue about what we thought, with my husband. David Letterman, my biggest late-night television comedy hero, has his last show ever Wednesday, May 20th. How can that be happening without Don seeing it? B.B. King died yesterday. We spent hours and hours in his club in NYC, seeing many different blues bands, and going to the Beatles Sunday Brunch, and more. It feels weird to lose important people and things in entertainment or sports or other things, and not have Don here to talk about those losses. Again, I know this might seem small in the scheme of things, but right now, lately - it is what I'm feeling. I miss all the things we had in common. Sure, I still do most of these things alone or with other friends, but it's just not the same. Watching a Yankee game alone is boring. Going out to a blues club by myself isn't the greatest either, nor is witnessing the end of an era in baseball or late-night TV - alone on my bedroom TV. It just feels lonely, and Im having a tough time getting used to it.

Surprisingly enough, my cats are not that much fun to watch Letterman with. They rarely laugh and they never say anything.

Holy shit, I miss my husband. But even more than that, right now, I miss my friend.


  1. At the point you said it might seem small in the scheme of things I thought to myself "not it's not small, she misses her best friend". Then I got to the end and you wrote it. Spouses wear so many hats. Some days I say to myself that I miss my husband(and all the intimate stuff that implies). Other days I miss my friend, the father of my children, the handyman, my workout partner, my fellow junk foodie, my ride to..., my in case of emergency, my advice giver, in other words, my everything. I miss my everything. How could we not? Everyday there is something unique to miss.

  2. dear Kelley,

    oh, the ache of missing the best friend one could ever have had. there was so much joy attached to all the zillions of both big and small things we shared in common that filled our life with zest, and humor, curiosity, intimacy, learning and growing, and interest. now it's all gone - and at this point I know in the future there will be many more memories of those things shared, and each one will bring the same familiar feeling - none of it means a thing to me without HIM. so many tears...such horrific losses...thank you for writing about them and how your Don made your worlds so much more interesting, funny, rich, and full.

    much love,


  3. Kelley -- being a huge Broadway musical fan, your post made me think of Fred Erb's lyrics from Curtains --
    ". . . But when you're writing a song without a partner that's a completely different matter
    No one tells you "That's not funny"
    No one says "Let's cut that bar"
    No one makes you better than you are
    I can't pretend
    I miss the music
    I miss my friend
    No need to ask me
    What I prefer
    I choose the music
    I wrote with her . . . "

    I miss my husband, my partner, my friend. Thanks for your post. Sincerely, Jane

    1. Jane, I love these lyrics and love the story behind them! Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Sorry - correction (typing too fast) Kander wrote these words upon the death of Ebb in honor of their long partnership & Ebb's sudden death. Jane

  5. But, even more than that, I miss my friend. YES!!

  6. Kelley, I know you would join me in saying "I miss the other half of me." I feel like half a person now with this huge hole in my heart. Karen

  7. Kelley. .this so touched the very core of me.....and describes so perfectly what we widows/widower have to cope with everyday....some days worse than others.....
    yes we miss all the intimacy. .etc...but it is the missing of your best friend that hurts the most.
    As you described all that you had in common I could actually picture you both in my head (though I never met either of you) and then memories of me and John would flash through my made me laugh....and cry.....
    Thanks for putting it all into words ....Linda