Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Walking Dead

I read something the other day that was sent to me regarding being the love of someones life. I commented on the blog and then I began to think about what was written and what I said regarding this particular situation. Basically what this blogger was expounding on was that she was married to a widower and that she would never be the love of his life because of his first wife. I sent it to my significant other (heretofore he is to be known as Wolfe and my significant other as I find the word boyfriend to be trite at my age) for him to read it. His take on the situation was the same as mine. You may not be the first but you can be the last. For my money, the last is a better seat on the ride anyway. However, what she said has very little bearing on what I am about to say.

I am not the woman that the first love of my life loved. I have walked through the hell that is widowhood and as a result I am forever changed. I am not now who I was when that fateful day dawned and I ran out the door to work like my ass was on fire. Although I inhabit the same body, my heart, my soul, my very being, the love of his life, died. It was a slow death. The woman that walked those floors. The woman who held his head when he was sick. The woman who smiled those particular smiles and laughed at those particular jokes. She no longer exists. She died as the time moved forward. Piece by piece, bit by bit, tear by tear. That's what no one gets. That is why to move forward is so slow on this widows walk. That's why it hurts so badly. Until we shed who we were, we are the walking dead. I was much a zombie as anything that George Romero ever put on a screen. I may not have been a rotting corpse on the outside, but the part of me, that was of the we, was decomposing inside me. I was feasting on the past and the memories and the "what ifs" and the "if  I'd just" that comprised my life. You can patch it up. You can gloss it over. But if you're trying to hold on to that relationship, that life, you are dragging a dead body along behind you.

I notice things about me that are different. With him, we ate Chinese. I love sushi. With him we watched a lot of television. I watch selected things. With him we spent Saturday out and about. I generally prefer to stay at home. With him we watched stupid comedies. I prefer English comedy but I like suspense and drama most of all. With him we were surrounded by family and drama. I prefer the company of my son and very little interaction with the drama filled people that inhabit my past. But those are physical things. Likes and dislikes. It goes deeper.

I was always a firebrand. I raised hell like it was my job. People feared my temper. No one was safe. I spoke without thinking often. I hated the taste of I'm sorry. If I thought you were wrong or made a mistake I would bully you into righting the wrong. I can say that now. I was a bully. But to my credit I lived in a world with the house on fire for 21 years. I got tired of always having to put out some sort of fire. First it was the struggle of a young marriage with no money and a baby. Two kids learning to coexist in a world that wanted them to fail. I had to fight. A family that thought I wasn't good enough made me strive for perfection. To beat and bang myself into a box that I could never quite fit into correctly. I was never who they needed or wanted me to be. I was never enough. Not in my eyes. Then was an illness that attacked my life like a rabid Hydra. Every time I cut off one head three more grew back. Yet I fought. I lived as a deacon's wife. I showed them my heart and they crucified me. I worked in the community. Give me your poor, your weak, your hungry kinda stuff. Still not enough.

Now I am more reserved. Ask me what I think and I will tell you but for the most part, I seldom have anything to say regarding what ever nonsense someone else is making noise about at any given time. I love people right where they are at any given time. Although my heart is not always on display, it is big and soft and cushy. I don't care if you're gay, straight, bi sexual, try sexual or asexual. Black, white, green, yellow, purple or polka-dotted. Lawyer, doctor, criminal, or Indian chief. I understand that we are all trying to do the best we can and what you're doing is well and truly none of my business. I don't have a lot of friends around me by my choice. I'm a good mom. I'm a good friend. I'm a good love. I am a bit acid tongued at times. I am opinionated. I am grown and believe it or not I am matured. I let very little anger me. I no longer have a box. I no longer have anything to prove. I am enough. I have cut the people out of my life that would not talk behind a polite smile. I learned that charity is best quiet. It's all enough.

So this version of me deserves a love of my life as well. Wolfe is very different than my late husband. He understands that there is no way to replace him and he has no urge to do so. He earned his place with patience and kindness. He was my friend first. He is still my best friend. He told me the other night that I am the woman he has looked all his life to find. Had he met me before the winter of my widowhood would he have loved me? I think not. Because I was not then who I am now. So if your question is if there is a chance for another love of your life I think the answer is yes. But the more important question is if there is life after death. I am living proof.