A very widowed day

I am having a very widowed day, even for a Monday.

One of Gavin's best friends is dying. He had a massive aneurysm and wasn't found for a few days. I tried to go up and visit him, even after I found out, despite the different name, that it was the same hospital where we saw our oncologist, where Gavin had chemo all summer one year and a dreadful surgery that fall. That I’d again be crossing the vast clean lobby, but this time without my love in a wheelchair. The same parking lot, with native plants to color-code each level, so friendly – a hospital parking lot.

Don was -- not just a friend. We spent a lot of time with Don and Linda before their divorce, which depressed us. Don was nearly Gavin’s twin, the same suit size, same height, similarly thin, handsome, and clean cut. Their art was even similar, their concerns and conversations and love for Guy Davenport and theory. Don has a blacker side than Gavin did, though, and loved obscure poetry, had a crazy romantic self who appeared once in a bit, insisted on living rougher and never started a family.

He visited Gavin on his last day, in hospice, and a week before that, was one of the few I invited to the ICU. I cried talking to Linda about it – she was his only one, traveling from her new home to take care of some things and watch over him.

I feel I must go in tribute, too, in return. To thank him for his kindness – we visited after I took Shortie to the ballet, and she padded about his studio after him. That was the last time I saw him – just when I was starting to date, so two years ago plus.

Even with a life hanging, my pilgrimage was prevented by a very trivial widowed chain of events. As always, you can have something spiritual and important and gory and real, and still get messed up by worry and paperwork and the way small bits of time pass you by.

First, Mr. Fresh listened to Car Talk during his morning workout and decided I should not drive up to the hospital with my bad brakes. There was “another problem” it could be and he “isn’t crazy about the idea of losing me just yet.”

I made an appointment with the repair shop and took it in. They’d give me a loaner: even better for the long drive up to see Don. When I showed up, they pointed out that my license was expired. Who KNEW they expire on your birthday? A side effect of wishing that day away every year since the diagnosis, which was the day before my birthday. Second widowhood-related complication.

The MVA was smooth and easy, but still took an hour. And then it was time, as it is always time, to fetch the dinner and the daughter. Yes, I got something important done, which had to be done, but now I can’t take the car in until tomorrow and drive the loaner up to the hospital.

It’s a small setback, but that’s what every day is like, when it isn’t dead serious or grey during grief: a set of menial tasks to please someone you don’t really care about. It’s the company that makes it all worthwhile. At least, that was what I thought the whole first year after my loss: the deliciousness of having company and the emptiness of life without that one person. So I got another flashback, one of perspective.

And that’s what makes me saddest: that Don lay there. That Linda was the only one to be asking if there was work to be delivered to a show in November (most of what we talked about). To mourn, but only as a friend, because the partnership ended long ago. She’ll be grieving only memories, not any present or future.

Sometimes people say “no one should die alone,” which is sort of a point, but it’s very important to note that we do all come into this world alone and we all do die alone.

But as much as I hate being a widow, I think the proper expression should be: No one should die without widowing someone. It’s only in giving love that we live well, and we don't need just a caregiver, but a witness. No one lost Don’s future and that’s a crying shame.

* * * Please connect! I love comments! * * *


Alicia said...

I've been thinking about you all day, since you first posted about this on FBook.

And I've been thinking about Nick's best friend, who came to see him in his last days and sat in the dingy waiting room with his wife, both of them disintegrating into tears.

I wrote a quick note to R today, telling him that the place that he held in Nick's heart had carved a place in mine. I don't know if he'll understand that, but I know that you do.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Thank you, dear friend. I bet it will hit him, too.

Suddenwidow said...

I'm sorry about Don. I hope you get a chance to get there tomorrow.

I found your comment that everyone should die without widowing someone so profound. It's something I've thought about quite a bit since my husband died. When I die, I won't leave someone with this deep grief, but I won't be leaving someone with this deep love either. I'm glad that I am here to witness the wonderful man my husband was. He lives on in this way. I guess it's a privilege to be his widow. I've never thought about it that way. Thank you.

Julie Cornewell said...

"No one should die without widowing someone" is beautiful. My late husband was the most pure soul I have ever known. He was a good, good man. He was the only person in my entire life that loved me unconditionally. While a lot of the time I am angry that God took that love away from me, in moments of clarity I realize that to know unconditional love is a rare gift. It was a privledge to be his wife. The four year anniversary of his death will be Oct 11th.

I am so sorry that you have to go through more pain as you experience the death of your friend. I know when my grandmother died a year after my husband it was like I was at her funeral and reliving his at the same time. My heart goes out to you.

Mrs P said...

I'll have to agree with the other commenters, your last section there was definitely very beautiful. But I find myself thinking, when I die... no one will be widowed because he's already gone... Hmmm...

I'm so sorry that you're going through death again, even if it is not for your spouse like it was before, it is still painful. Hugs headed your way.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Thank you all for your kindness. I am very much at the beginning end of processing this new loss and the many other bits of unfinished business that I owe my husband's art career.

Mrs. P, you hit on what I was too cloudy to really say: how thankful I am for my new husband. God willing, I won't die without widowing someone, even if the risk for me is -- being widowed again.

We all hate it when others say this, but darling, you are young with many choices yet to come. I hope it sounds different coming from a widda sista. :-)


Linda said...

So well-said as usual. I especially loved your final two paragraphs.

annie said...

I'm sorry for your impending loss.

I am not so sure about the widowing thing and death though. It's more about someone being left to stand witness and marriage is not the only relationship that leaves people behind to do that.

Widowhood makes us a bit myopic on the whole married thing.

Jill said...

Hi. I read that you say you have widowed days. I have widowed weeks. My husband died in 2009 and I still have difficulty believing it really happened. Nothing much seems to help but I have tried so many things to help me to move through this. I have a blog too: griefstreet.blogspot.com/
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts-I think it helps to know that there are others who are out there.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Hi Jill,
I'm sorry to hear you're having widowed weeks in year two. I hope you're finding you're not alone in that, as you aren't alone in any part of this difficult journey!


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