I don’t think of myself as a widow, even though I certainly am. I feel as though I’ve emerged from a long sleep, like Sleeping Beauty, only I’m not a beautiful princess in a castle. Everything I do seems like the first time. Every step seems like trying to cross a cold stream on stepping stones to reach a familiar shore. I must be careful lest I lose my footing.
But the sadness, the newness of my life, is studded with love and humor, like a heavy jewel-encrusted crown. Family, friends, even strangers, appear to ease me into this new life.
On Thursday, I had to go to Mayo Clinic for appointments (all good!), including one with a therapist I’ve been working with on a very minor complication from the breast surgery. I told the woman that I had a new pain across my chest. I am, I guess understandably, prone to panic at any new twinge, so have been checking out everything.
She looked at the area I was describing, and asked if I had been doing any strenuous exercise or yard work over the weekend. I had told her of John’s death, so she immediately backtracked, apologized, and said of course I hadn’t. Then I could see the wheels turning. She asked if I had been hugging a lot of people. I said I had probably given and received a thousand hugs in the past week! And writing thank-you notes? she asked. Yes!
Ah, she said, you have a hugging-related injury. She gave me some stretches to do, and sent me on my way. What a wonderful thing, I thought. A hugging-related injury.
My grandson Harry has been staying with us during all of the sad events of the last two weeks as well. He and my granddaughters have lightened our grief with their childish innocence and exuberance. Thank you, Lord!
Harry, who will be three in August, is one of the funniest kids in the universe, we all agree. We have to be careful what we say around him, we’ve found, because he picks up adult speech and parrots it back.
On Thursday night, after the day in Rochester, we decided that cooking anything that required heat, indoors or out, was not in the cards, so daughter Cassidy, Harry, and my sister Susan, nicknamed Susu, jumped in the car to get a bite to eat. After dinner, well, after Harry was done with his dinner, he began lobbying to go home. First he tried the adult approach, with a cheerful, “How about we all go home?” We left, too tardily for him.
When we got to the car, Susu got behind the driver’s wheel. From the back seat, Harry said, “Susu, are you going to drive?” “Yes, I am,” she answered.
“Hold on, everybody!” Harry told the rest of us.