A few weeks ago I asked some of you to go over and spread some warmth to Mrs. Grumpy when she lost her husband. And I know alot of you did and I thank you for that. The blogging community can be very warm and supportive in spite of its anonymity.
I have been checking in on her every day since it happened. But I felt funny about it sometimes, like I was invading her privacy. See, I just “met” her a week or two before he died. I thought she was funny and I added her to my google reader. Then the whole passing away of her husband happened and I felt real sadness for this stranger who had lost someone she loved so completely. I checked in to offer support. As much support as you can via a comment box. (Sigh) But I admit some of it was also a voyeuristic interest. What is she doing now? How did he die? What will she say tomorrow about it?
I know. I felt (and feel) tremendously sad for her but a part of me was the driver passing by the car wreck rubbernecking. Plus I didn’t feel like I had much to offer for someone in such pain, and I most of all did not want to offer any unwanted support or assvice. Not now, of all times. But I kept going back, hoping she was doing a little better. And she is, sometimes, and sometimes not. One day at a time.
What I did not expect was to learn something from her about my own marriage. Because in spite of all of her wonderful stories and memories of him, I didn’t connect to her loss in a way that was real. Her loss of her husband had nothing to do with me and my husband. The one who is always running 10 minutes late and loses his patience when he cant find something he should have put away last night. That same husband of mine who doesn’t listen to me when I tell him things the first time, and then asks me the same thing again, and once more before it sinks in. That guy who leaves his socks in the kitchen and his toast crumbs on the counter. The one that I sometimes take for granted and, on the worst days, wonder if I really need. Yeah, that guy.
And then today she wrote this, about what it is like when someone calls and asks her what they can do to help;
"...the wonderful person on the other end will inevitably ask,"Is there anything you need...?" Today I was talking to his cousin and I said,"Yes, I need to hold the edge of his t-shirt in my hand and feeling his warm skin brush my knuckles so that I can fall asleep. I need to be able to get him up for work and make him coffee, I need to make dinner while he sits on the computer playing poker and talking to me. I need to go back to a few of our conversations and pay more attention so he knew how important what he said was important to me. I need him to cuddle with his son in Krandall (Krandall was the name that Leonard had given to the ridiculously, monstrously huge, ugly Lazy Boy that he bought a few months ago), I need his arms around me, I need to give him that haircut I promised because his messed up neckline always bothered him, I need to hug him so hard so that he would never leave me. Can you go get him for me please...?"
Damn, that hit me right in the chest. That is everyday life she is talking about, MY everyday life. My leg reaching out to brush against Tom's leg when I can't sleep. My Tom in our old recliner reading books to the boys. Me not paying attention to every detail of the car maintenance we need to do and why. Me forgetting to to kiss him goodbye this morning because I wanted to run up and get the laundry before the boys woke up.
Mrs. Grumpy, in her lowest low, has made me realize that I am so very, very lucky to have those socks to pick up tonight, and those toast crumbs to brush away tomorrow, and that the laundry can wait until after I have hugged Tom and kissed him goodbye.