Widower Day 179… really 180, but 179 was six months and I just couldn’t write anything… I didn’t have the energy for it and simply… there were other things I wanted and needed to do. I started this post because of the kindness and compassion of a friend and thought it kinda fit for the six month mark. It’s the people that keep us going, that give us purpose, that give us reasons to get excited for life… even after you find out that it’s our relationships with people that sometimes makes us hurt, makes us sad, makes it so that we don’t want to leave our little schoolhouse homes and face the world… but we do because the risk is worth it… and because sometimes its just what we have to do.
Six months… and it’s still all sorts of fucked up. Although six months isn’t a long time, it’s long enough to definitively break up my life into Before Kateri, Kateri, without Kateri… and that is a hard reality to try and figure out. It is strange. It is confusing. It is emotional. I still don’t sleep. I still don’t eat. I am stressed out and overwhelmed (with moments of stillness and calm). I still don’t know what I’m going to do with this new life that I didn’t ask for, but am forced to navigate. What I do know is… I am different. I am a different person because my life is different. I would say that my priorities have changed, but really my priorities are getting through today… and into tomorrow without making this experience worst… for the most part.
Six months and I’ve been without Kateri for a longer stretch of time than when we first found out she had cancer in her brain… and the time it took her life. I have spent more time not getting up and getting her pills together, delivering them in the fancy little dish with fancy little designs on it, before I go to work. More time not running up and down stairs because it was the wrong little pitcher for almond milk for her cereal, or trying to find the perfect pillow, or calling doctors with questions, or seeing them and hearing bad news, or waiting in 3K with other normal people dealing with unfair hands, or having every bit of my energy focused on just trying to make her feel better… to provide her with even the slightest bit of relief, comfort, and sense of not being alone through this. More time not seeing the worry in her eyes… and her seeing the worry in mine. With Kateri and cancer I have now spent more time not worrying about losing the love of my life… because I lost her six months ago… and it only took cancer four months and three days to change my life forever. I would much rather be worried… but that’s not the hand dealt. So I rely on friends… on people… on “The Good” in the world to keep me going… and get me into tomorrow.
This is where I started on Widower Day 171… I received the first text at 9:00pm saying, “Hola friend! What are your thoughts about me coming to visit Oct 6-10? Let me know if that works for you.”, but it’s the second one that made my night. I didn’t see the first until I heard that little ding from my phone twenty eight minutes later saying, “No pressure… BUT I booked a flight because there was only one seat left coming home on the 10th…” yada yada yada. I couldn’t believe how two short messages from an old friend could fill me with such warmth, such…
Ummm, now its Widower Day 174 and I was gonna continue on with stories of grilled steaks, talking on the porch, and four hour drives to Quechee, but I think those texts speak to what I wanted to say today… what I needed to just get out of my brain after having a “moment” driving between the lake and my house… and then for twenty minutes in the driveway.
This old friend is a man in my life who predates Kateri. Although all of us lose touch with each other because of life, as the years pile up you realize it’s just the frequency at which we are all in the same space that is less… but the bond of a real friendship just digs deeper as our lives get richer and fuller with experience. I hadn’t seen my buddy for years. I think we decided it was when Kateri and I lived in Nederland, but that’s not really relevant. What’s relevant is this man was there for me when Kateri was in Palliative Care. He texted me. He called and talked with me. He took time…. like so many good people and friends did . No, we haven’t seen each other in years, but he knows I am now hurting from the loss of my wife… the loss of my best friend… and the loss of that feeling of security in your life… in your world. So he came 2,676 miles to my little schoolhouse home… just to be here for me, to listen, to talk on the porch.
Friendship. When you’re wading through that pile of poop (trying not to say shit so much), you rely on all sorts of friendships to get through the day. I feel the need to say that in the grand scheme of things, in this new “chapter”, I’m doing ok. All honesty, I am excited to see what the future brings, to meet new people, to have new experiences… and I am. There has been laughter, and singing in the bathtub, and sitting by fires, playing guitars, fun texting banters with friends… old and new, and beautiful fall scenery. There’s still enough Good in the world to show us that it’s worth putting pants on for… especially as the weather is turning. But when dealing with this shit (twice, sorry), this upheaval of life, I am grateful to have people in my life who share the common value of what it means to be a part of “The Good” in the world… who understand what is important in the world…who are present when needed even with distance in between. Just knowing that I could call any number of people at 3:07… a.m. … and they would be there for me is not only heart warming, but I also rely on it to keep some of that feeling of being all alone at bay. It’s not that I call people at three in the morning all the time, but if I did!… they’d answer! Everyone should have those types of friends and friendships in their lives, but more importantly… you should be that type of friend.
OK… now it’s Widower Day 176 and I don’t know exactly where I was going with this blog post except for this… I have had a rough go lately. I haven’t wanted to do anything… at all. To just stop everything for a bit. I have wanted off this ride… to change the song… or at least the tune. (side note… NO, I do not want to slit my wrists in the newly tiled bath tub while drinking a glass of whisky… smoking a joint… and a cigarette or anything. I kinda figure this is all sorta normal “widower” stuff. Life—beautiful…. sometimes a pile of shit. 3 times… I’m gonna stop apologizing) I have been sad, lost, and lonely. And it’s not that I need anyone to do anything because……. I guess here is the point I’m trying to make. This has sucked, these things suck, but it’s the people in my life… the people who are still plopped here on this earth with me… whether they be from when we were making memories as stupid boys 26 years ago or from this new “chapter” in life… it’s the people who provide me with strength, security, and reassurance… with excitement and smiles… with joy. It’s my friends… and I find them everywhere. Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes… in varying degrees… and with all sorts of intentions. When going through a traumatic event like this you need people. You may not talk often and you may not live in the same town. Hell, you may not even know each other very well!… but that’s not the important part of friendship. It’s being there at the right time, for the right reason… however big or small. That’s what I have… that’s what everyone should have… because that’s what let’s you know you’ll be ok.