In twelve, short winter days it will be a full year since Don passed away. The year went by quickly and I am grateful I am past the panicked stage of grief and the crazy I-have-to-do-everything-all-at-once feelings that chased me around for so many months. And tonight as I think about what it means to face this first anniversary I am reminded of a passage I read in a book a long time ago, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: “Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.”
There are other quotes from the book I saved in a notebook and they are speaking to me as well: “We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.” Grief and its aftermath is that kind of a force that makes us find a new direction in our lives, an uncharted course that eventually picks its way back down the hill with the volume of our tears added to its flow.
Do you save quotes and lines from songs, books and movies to savor later? I’m getting so bad that I’m constantly wishing for a red light when I’m driving so I can write down the title of a song to google later. Since Don died I almost feel like he’s speaking to me through lines spoken or sung by other people. Like tonight I was watching Mel Gibson’s movie Signs and I fell back in love with these lines: “…what you have to ask yourself is what kind of a person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible there are no coincidences?” Lines like that can keep my mind occupied for days. Until Don died I never believed in signs from the other side, but a few things have happened that I can’t help but question if it’s sign or a coincidence. The spookiest coincidence/sign that happened this year was on a day I was driving home from spreading Don’s ashes at the beach and I was wondering if I had done the right thing, picking where to leave him. As I was mulling over that thought I turned a corner and a saw a huge rainbow just as Tim McGraw came on the radio singing the song, Please Remember Me. I had to pull over, in awe.
I’m hiring a house cleaning service next week. Whoopie doo. I’ve traded in my husband for enough money to pay someone to save me from the fate of living knee-deep in dust bunnies and “doggie nose art” on the lower windows panes. I justify it as giving myself 720 more days to live the "high life" of a widowed, senior citizen. How? In the last few years it’s been taking me three days a month to clean what I used to be able to do in three hours. Three days a month times the twenty years I plan on living…that frees up over two years to spend quality time with my self instead of Mr. Clean. That’s enough time to take several around-the-world cruises. Damn it, I’d rather have Don back than to go Bora Bora, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, Athens and Rome. And I really like doggie nose art. I’d put food coloring on Levi’s nose to improve his work if I thought he wouldn’t lick it off. But life goes on and there are Bucket Lists to rewrite and watery ink to flush from paper. A widow can fight the changes that come with the title but you can’t stop them from coming. Eventually your life stills continue its flow down the hill of time. ©
“I'm not sure this will make sense to you
but I felt as though I'd turned around to look in a different direction
so that I no longer faced backward toward the past
but forward toward the future.
And now the question confronting me was this:
What would the future be?”
Memoirs of a Geisha
My book documenting my first year of widowhood can be previewed and ordered here.
My other blog is here: http://misadventuresofwidowhood.blogspot.com/