The familiar question, “Does it get easier?” came up in a conversation recently. My answer is, “Yes…and no.” I know some of you will consider that a cop-out answer, but I can explain. The “yes” part means it does get somewhat easier because the longer you go on by yourself, the more you find yourself falling into a pattern of daily life. Emotionally, however, the “no” part is always there, at least for me. Fifty-three years of memories is impossible to erase like a school blackboard.
Now I know of widowed people who have found another mate after a seemingly short time and lived happily ever after, and others who lived unhappily ever after. I don’t know what the difference in widowed folks is, where some take longer than others to readjust to single life. Maybe it’s just a personal viewpoint. People are different; there’s no getting around that. What the keys are to widowed couples’ compatibility is beyond me. If I knew the answer to that, I could be on TV as Dr. Al.
Last week was the anniversary of my wife’s death, and I survived pretty well. It was on my mind for a couple of days more so than usual, but I was able to operate normally and didn’t have any major breakdowns. I am susceptible to having emotional breakdowns years after an event. I never know what will trigger a big crying jag so I live with the expectation of it happening eventually.
I saw a true-to-life cartoon in my Twin Cities paper. A young father was changing a baby’s diaper; a woman watching said, “He’ll pay you back some day.” I believe Shakespeare said the same thing, “Mewling and puking” at each end of our lives. Certain facts of life don’t seem to change even in 400 years.
On a more pleasant topic, I received an easy quiche recipe from a reader recently. I take more stock in hand-me-down recipes than those in commercial cookbooks. I know that the person who gave me the recipe has prepared the dish, fed it to close friends or relatives, and takes credit, good or bad, for its success or failure. Whereas the commercial cookbook author would blame poor preparation on any recipe failure. The exception to this rule is the church cookbook. The recipes in those are usually good because they’ve been tested by a very particular group of testers: other women in the church group.
The church potluck supper is an excellent testing facility. The pan of potato-chip hot dish that’s still nearly full at the end of the meal is probably not something you want to imitate.
I use that same method to buy tomato plants. People wonder how I can grow such a wonderful batch of tomatoes when I’m such a brown thumb person. I usually tell them I’m the tomato whisperer, but really I go to the store a little later in the planting season and see which plant type is emptiest and pick those. I figure that those gardeners who know what they’re doing have made my choice for me. It works!
The Fourth of July is coming; I’ve got to find my red, white, and blue socks. Enjoy the summer and have fun, but be careful.
Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.