During my first year of widowhood, I’ve made lots of choices, as all newly widowed men and women do. Some are absolutely necessary, some are frivolous. Some are unknown and frightening, some are merely curious. All are a stepping stone into the realm of independence.
The first choices are made in a complete state of shock, those made at the funeral home. Even if you’ve known that the death was imminent, the shock of suddenly being alone has hit like a rogue wave on a rocky shore and leaves you gasping for air. The choices made here have a permanence that carries far past the day, but the decisions can barely be recalled later. I remember being in the funeral home while the decisions were made, but my recollections of the encounter are only of my personal thoughts of panic and need for escape. I cannot at all remember the choices made for the funeral beyond one… cremation.
Then come the necessary choices, such as house repairs. For me and many widows these choices come with a high level of frustration attached to them. These were not our choices to make in the past, our husbands made them with us if not for us. We know little or nothing about them, even less about who to hire to fix them or if we’re getting over-charged because we know little or nothing about them. These are the situations were we HATE being the needy widow. Especially if we have no immediate male family members nearby to help us out. We do Not want to ask for help, but we would be thrilled to death (no pun intended) if someone would offer to help. Home maintenance 101 should be a mandatory class for every widow, but quite frankly, I can’t reach most places in my house without a really tall ladder, have I mentioned that I’m vertically challenged? I’m also quite intimidated by all power tools, except for glue guns. They plug-in so I’m assuming they fall under the category of power tools.
The final category of choices that newly widowed persons find themselves making, especially in that first year are the, “Because I Can” choices. These are the angry or spiteful choices we make in some subconscious attempt to get even with our spouse for deserting us. They can range from trivial and silly to expensive or just plain dangerous. One of my first BIC choices was to cut my hair. I know this sounds very childish and it was, but Larry didn’t like short hair on women or long hair on men. I think it hearkened back to his days at the Naval Academy, not sure. Whatever the reason was, my hair was always longish and after he died I had it cut, just because I could. And each time I went back to have my roots colored (my hair is chemically dependent, I have NO idea what my natural color is anymore but I’m suspecting there’s a liberal amount of gray) I would have a bit more cut off. Now short hair on me isn’t a good look. My heritage is primarily Swedish, with a bit of German and Irish thrown in for good temper, eh huh. This means that my hair has the basic consistency of spider webs – no body whatsoever. All of the body went south to my hips. My hair just kind of lays there. So with really short hair, my head takes on the general appearance of a Q-tip. Great if you are a Q-tip, not so great if you’re a woman. I had one brave and loving friend – thank you Maggie – who had the courage to tell me one evening after Bible School last July that perhaps I’d gone too short with that last hair cut, because it really didn’t look very good. She was sooo right. I’m growing it out again now. Funny thing with hair, it takes longer to grow than it does to cut.
Another BIC decision was to spend too much time on the couch wallowing in my grief. Time spent on the computer (See To Shop Or Not To Shop), reading, watching movies, or just staring at the walls. Whatever I was or wasn’t doing, I was sitting and sitting and sitting. I discovered the harvest of this activity the other night when I put on my favorite flannel jammies for the first time this winter. The top fits great, better than ever. The bottoms…. That body that I mentioned above… yeah, well it has been fruitful and multiplied. I have harvested a big butt and there isn’t any spandex in flannel! I squeezed my behind into those bottoms and thought, “Dang, these things got tight! They must have shrunk in storage or something” Umm Hmmmm. No, I just broadened my horizon on my reclining love seat. So I went back to wearing Larry’s flannel jammies, they’re still too big so they make me feel better… 🙂
There are other BIC choices that I’ve made in the last year, some big, some little. But all were made with the same attitude. “You’re not here to tell me no, so I can do this if I want to!” Some were okay to make, some were not okay to make. One in particular should have been made years ago, my health has been improved immensely by it. Am I really getting back at Larry for dying and leaving me alone when I make these decisions? Of course not. If the choices are bad the only one who suffers is me, if they are really bad I could hurt my family too. That would be horrible. If the choices are good, Larry does not benefit from them. He’s already in the most wonderful place imaginable, in Heaven with Jesus.
Why do I make choices with these silly childish attitudes attached? Because I’m human, I’m broken and somewhere inside there is a little girl who wants to get even with someone for destroying her “happily ever after”