The Goddess Speaks
I’m fine -- thanks for asking
A few days ago, I had an anniversary. I've been a widow one whole year. Before Don died, he'd been in and out of hospitals for two months. For years before that, he'd been on a low-salt diet and restricted activity.
In the hospital, doctors aggressively drained his lungs of fluid, which shut down his kidneys. Dialysis affected his heart.
As Don shut down bit by bit, I grieved. Watching him lying in bed, growing weaker day by day, my heart broke for him. At church, with friends holding me close, I wept. But his gradual going gave us time to talk, and when he finally passed on, we had no unfinished business.
Don was so loyal that I had to give him permission to go, saying, "I'll be OK, Honey. I have the kids, our church, our friends. You can leave." And he did. I watched the blood pressure monitor go down, down, down, as his spirit took flight.
The first few nights, I got little sleep. I was forgetful, doing things like putting the toothpaste in the refrigerator. The weekend following the memorial service, I escaped to daughter Jennifer and grandkids in Hilo and collapsed in a beanbag chair, sleeping deeply while four little keiki ran and shouted around me.
Daughter Vicki insisted I come to the mainland to recover and start revisions to Social Security and pensions. Enjoying her children kept me from brooding, although tears still splashed at unexpected moments.
I'd trained for successful widowhood, observing my mother and her three sisters, all widows for more than 20 years. I'd watched as my newly widowed mother struggled to re-learn how to write a check, to drive a car. I vowed to be better prepared.
So coming back to our little Waikiki apartment was surprisingly easy. Although I missed Don, I was able to go forward, enjoying the space I'd now have in the closets with his clothing donated. (All except his white dinner jacket. He did love that jacket!)
Church friends helped me sort out my finances.
Jennifer and I repainted a room a color of my own choice. I relished eating what I wanted when I wanted, even a pot of Portuguese bean soup (salted!) three days in a row.
They say holidays are the hardest, but our church had a wonderful potluck for Thanksgiving, and I flew to Hilo for Christmas, so I made it through all right.
Then I was able to go on a seven-week missions trip to China, Tibet, Thailand and Bangladesh, preaching, teaching English and encouraging local Christian workers. A seven-week separation from Don in his unhealthy state would have been impossible.
So ... yes. I miss Don. I miss his optimistic encouragement. Every day, I look at my mouse pad with a photo of the two of us and say, "Hi, darling. Love you." I enjoyed being married those 55 years. Now I love being a widow.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
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