Last year around this time I wrote a diary for the Grieving Room on my husband's birthday. Since he died just a couple weeks after that, his birthday and death day go together in my mind.
So it's been two years now, and it seems like yesterday and yet like a long time ago. I've been thinking about what to write for this diary for some days now. The funny thing is, that having just reread my previous diary I noted most of the same ideas. It's a little more routine, two years distant, but I still try not to dwell on the loss. I know we all deal with grief differently, but I find I remember him every day, and it's often the little things.
Couples who are together for long periods of time get used to each other's quirks and preferences, decide when it's important to make your preferences known and when it doesn't really matter. Even though my husband is no longer here, I find myself still doing some things "his" way. And other things I now do "my" way. And each time I do them, no matter whose way I now use, I think of him. So it is, indeed, the little things. I will explain further below the kos squiggle.
Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey
and a special welcome to anyone new to The Grieving Room.
We meet every Monday evening.
Whether your loss is recent, or many years ago;
whether you've lost a person, or a pet;
or even if the person you're "mourning" is still alive,
("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time),
you can come to this diary and say whatever you need to say.
We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.
There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down..
It just is.
You wouldn't think something as mundane as garbage bins would bring back memories. Our garbage bin system has three bins--one for trash, one for recyclables, and one for compost. Every week my husband would bring up the three cans one by one from the basement, up a flight of stairs, to put in front of the house for pickup. Then after the collection, he would move all the bins back downstairs again. They are heavy, and it was hard work. I decided to leave the bins in the porch area in front of the house instead. It is much more convenient because I can just step outside the front door to throw something in a bin, and then go down one stair to put it out for collection. But every time I throw something away I think of him, and wonder what he would think of my solution.
Then there is the washing machine. Behind the washing machine are two faucets. He always turned off the faucets after the wash was finished, and turned on the faucets to wash the clothes. After he died and I figured out how to use the washing machine (that wasn't part of my usual tasks), I continued to do the same thing. The washing machine is forty years old and when I thought there was a problem (it turned out to be a sewer problem) and had a plumber come in, he mentioned that I should be careful to watch the hoses because there was a lot of pressure coming from the water through the faucets. I told him we always turned off the faucets. He said then there wouldn't be a problem. So my husband was right.
My husband was always a stickler for checking to see that the stove was off when we left the house. I would wait impatiently in the hallway while he did his last run into the kitchen to check to see if all the burners were off. I don't do that. But one day I was in a real hurry to finish making dinner before I had an appointment somewhere and I was scurrying around the kitchen, figuring out where to put the food and whether it was too hot to put in the refrigerator. I checked my phone to see when the bus was coming, grabbed my jacket and was at the door when I thought of him and went back to check the stove. To my amazement, the stove was on, and the pot on top of the burner was empty. That might have been a disaster, so I consider that a gift from my husband.
There are still things I want to tell him or ask his advice about. The first thing I wanted to do when I heard about our State Senator Leland Yee's arrest on public corruption and trafficking charges was to tell him. He would have marveled at it as much as I did. I want to ask him how he wants the family pictures placed on the wall. It was his idea to have pictures there, but he hadn't gotten around to placing them before he died. I want to tell him how proud of myself I was when I decided to unclog the kitchen sink myself instead of using a chemical product, and went online to buy a hand tool (a drum auger) and was successful.
And then there are the items that make me think of him. The pair of shoes that he never wore that I took over. All of the Rube Goldberg type "fixes" he made in the house that I haven't the heart to change yet. Most of them involve clothespins, rubberbands, or shoelaces. I think of him when I gather my courage and throw away something that might be "useful" in the future, but I really don't need. I save more than most people, but he's the only one I know that used to use the bags from cereal boxes to carry sandwiches in. I think of him every time I get out a roll of toilet paper or a box of kleenex. He bought them on sale and stored enough so we are still using what was there two years ago. I expect we may have to get some toilet paper this year, but the waxed paper will last longer than I will, and the paper towels and soap will too.
I have no one to eat the fruit that gets soft (his favorite) so I am stuck eating it myself. I have kept the membership in the local NPR station for two years, but since I never watch TV, I think I will stop this year. And I feel guilty about it. I like to think he would be happy that I have been walking for exercise with one of my friends and gardening with the other. I'm sure he would want me to be busy and happy. But I still miss him. That's just the way it is.