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Fourth Sadiversary on Widowhood Lane

My mom died on Easter thirty-two years ago, my dad died on Christmas fifteen years ago and my husband passed away four years ago the middle of Janurary. With Mom and Dad’s deaths both falling on holidays it’s impossible to let their sadiversaries slide by without thinking about them. With Don’s I get through the holidays before the anticipation of his sadiversary gets kick-started on New Year’s Day. Even though he died on a nondescript day in the middle of a nondescript month I doubt I’ll ever reach a point when it will be just another day on the calendar. Still, if I was in charge of publishing church calendars I’d make his sadiversary a Red Letter Day like Mom and Dad’s. 

Recently I found myself sorting things that had to do with Don’s funeral---sympathy cards, the guest book, letters and the alike that came out of the messy closet in the room I’m re-purposing. Four years! It was time to throw those greeting cards away, I decided, but people spent time and money picking them out then writing notes inside so I wanted to read them one last time. Would they affect me differently than they did in 2012? The answer is yes. As I sat reading I savored the words where before I read them in a state of numbness. This time I wrapped myself in the warmth and caring they expressed. I kept several cards for the handwritten messages inside and I kept the five letters that were either read as part of the memorial service or just appeared in frames in the visitation room. I had completely forgotten about those pages of shared memories. And I kept Don’s medical bracelet, of all things. It’s not like anyone else can use it with all the stuff written on it: Severe aphasia, heart patient, atrial fibrillation, stroke patient, diabetic non-insulin dependent, takes Coumadin. Plus the bracelet had his name, the name of his internist and hospital engraved on the stainless steel. They had to use both sides of the metal to get all that stuff on it.

Hallmark and American Greetings know their business: “No one else can comprehend the sadness in your heart. You knew this man completely---others only knew him in part.” “In memory and celebration of someone who made this world a brighter and better place.” “Let us remember the smiling, the laughing, the talking, the sharing, the caring and the loving.” “We’re never really ready when it’s time to say good-bye, but slowly we accept what has to be, letting go of what we must…..” Yup, over the past four years I’ve let go of the tears, the sadness, the regrets but I can’t let go of a stupid medical bracelet! It’s too personal and represents everything Don went through in the last twelve years of his life. The idea of throwing it in the trash with garbage headed to the dump didn’t feel right. Back in the box it went with the letters, memorial program and a copy of the eulogy although I made a notation on my day planner to bury it by Don’s cemetery stone next spring.
On my first sadiversary I characterized the year I’d just been through as being all about survival and on my second sadiversary I labeled the previous year as the rebuilding year. During my third year of widowhood I was on a mission to seek contentment and that goal ended with mixed results---the desperation of the search dissipated but not the search itself, if that makes any sense. And now here I am trying to summarize year four of my widowhood in five words or less. The best I can come up with is this past year was a slow march towards acceptance, and that acceptance stems from the realization that if I move closer to my family---as I've been thinking of doing---I probably won’t see them any more often than I do now. My nieces and nephew are part of the busy sandwich generation; they have parents and grandchildren who---rightly so---will always get first dibs on their free time. Nope, moving won’t be a panacea to cure the lack of closeness that’s been missing from my life since Don died...although I haven't completely ruled a move out of the equation. If I could take the senior hall activities with me the decision would be a no brainer.
There you have it. I’ve taken my widowhood temperature and I pronounce myself ready to embark on the fifth year of living without my soulmate. It’s time for me to get my act together and turn woo-is-me into wow-is-me. It’s time to rediscover myself at the end of a paint brush, if there is a me still there. With that goal in mind, I've posted a photo tour of my new, re-purposed room at my other blog. The sleeper chair came this week and I've christened the room The Studio. ©

My main blog is here.


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Comment by Blue Snow on February 8, 2016 at 2:33pm

Melissa, Thanks for the history lesson but as important as Martin Luther King Jr’s Day is it doesn’t compare to the birth and death of Jesus in terms of it being a Red Letter Day. When I referred to January being a “non-describe month” I meant in terms of it having no Red Letter Days as defined when the term was first coined in antiquity…no holy days. I like what you said about, "Death dates are emblazoned in the soul."


Comment by Blue Snow on February 6, 2016 at 2:21pm

Thank you. I wish I could have re-purposed the room a long time ago but really had to keep a full spare room in case I need caregiver help from time to time---my husband was severely disabled for twelve years before he died.

Comment by Callie2 on February 6, 2016 at 12:18pm
Love the room, very welcoming and multi-functionable. I am very challenged in decorating, wish I had an ounce of your talent!

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