Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who We Are

by Linda Della Donna


We are women left.

We experienced the best of times; The worst of times. And survived.

We discovered the meaning of life -- Nothing like the loss of a spouse to wake us up to that.

We gained some; We lost some -- Friends and pounds.

We had friends run out on us. We understood they just couldn't take it. At least, we tried to.

We lost appetites, and we lost weight. And in the spirit of true friendship, we watched true friends reappear, and the pounds.

We discovered life as a widow is different than being married, but trying to explain it to anyone is like describing the color orange to a blind man. We know it's best to change the subject. We train our eyes to look away.

We spend endless sleepless nights pondering the future. We wonder -- Can we meet this month’s mortgage payment, next month’s electric bill. Even if we know we are able, we worry, What if…

We daydream -- Consider moving to an island someplace in the South Pacific; sailing off into the horizon; peddling into traffic on a bicycle, motoring cross-country on a motorcycle, blazing a trail on horseback. We contemplate running away every minute of every day. We will do anything to escape the pain, but we don’t. Because we know, deep inside, there is no place to run away to.

We contemplate entering the convent. We think, Maybe there is peace there.

Every morning, we get out of bed. And we remember -- He’s gone. He’s not coming back.

Every evening, we turn out the light. And we remember -- He’s gone. He’s not coming back.

We love our sons, our daughters; We love your sons, your daughters. Heck, we love everyone! We love grandkids, most especially our own.

We eat meals standing up, usually over the kitchen sink.

We eat cold pasta for breakfast out of a container. We use our fingers. We think, Why dirty a fork?

We traded lacy lingerie for flannel pajamas; silk robes for cotton terry cloth, and candlelight dinners for an open refrigerator door.

We identify red wires, white wires, and yellow wires inside a gem box in a wall when the ceiling fan switch in the master bedroom doesn’t work. And we fix it.
We know which circuit breaker shuts the current in every room of the house; when to change the battery in the smoke detector; how to plunge a stopped toilet; how to snake a clogged drain.

We keep a supply of Draino under every sink in the house, because we swear to God we’ll never let that happen again!

We know where the water main is; what number to call for the garage door repairman, and when to use it.

We know how to read a tire gauge, check the oil, change a flat.

We rake leaves, we hoe peas, we plant corn, tomatoes, and celery. We reap the harvest. And we cook and eat it, too.

We paint the house; Outside and in.

We tile the bathroom; grout it, too.

We know how to wash a floor on hands and knees.

We cry out loud when no one is looking. And don’t care if they are.

We are strong; we are weak.
We are big; we are small.
We are tall; we are short.

We are every color in the rainbow, different sizes, different shapes.

We are different; we are same.

We’ve been congratulated, applauded, patted on the back, hugged, French kissed, mentored, adored, and loved by the best.

We have loved and lost; buried and mourned.

If getting through a day without Him by our sides was an Olympic event, a role in a motion picture, a horse race at Hialeah, we’d own a Tony, an Emmy, an Oscar, and our hand prints and footprints would be stamped in a sidewalk outside a Chinese Restaurant on Hollywood and Vine. And the world would know us by the giant horseshoe of red and white carnations hanging around our necks.

We’ve made sense of the senseless, discovered the meaning of grief -- insanity gone greased and wild. And, we’ve learned life’s valuable lesson: When you lose a spouse, life goes on.

We remind the world that love is never having to say goodbye.

Congratulations, Widows! Take a bow.


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