What is the complete opposite of; familiar, of the comfortable, of the known? I’m thinking the answer might be “oddities”.
It seems I have been experiencing oddities the last few days. I’m not completely comfortable with these occurrences, but I’m trying to embrace them for what they actually are.
Where to begin? The other night I went out to dinner with, what I now refer to as, “the merry widows.” Let me digress by stating, that I abhor the word widow. Hearing the term, I immediately envision an old witchy looking woman, clad in black, hump backed, carrying a silvered handled cane, with a handkerchief covering most of sorrowfully, pruneish (an Urban dictionary word, I looked it up) face.
In reality, the “merry widows” are three, way too young, sixtyish friends whose husbands died entirely too early. We have all chosen joy, in place of the pruneish state that defines some widows. We travel together, have dinner together, and we help each other do dreadful jobs that our husbands used to do for us. We love, support and encourage one another. In short, we are so thankful that we are not in this exclusive, hand picked, club, alone. Instead, we are bound together for life.
Friday night, we took UBER to a classy, trendy downtown San Antonio restaurant. UBERing, an oddity, as our husbands would have certainly thought this absurd. They would have grabbed the keys, piled us in the car, and off we would have gone. However, three single, seasoned women, knowing there would be alcohol involved, chose to be savvy.
Sitting in this quite lovely atmosphere, enjoying our pre-dinner cocktails, conversation turned to every day life. One of our merry trio remarked that just the day before, a spark of a memory, had surprisingly gripped her emotions and she found herself in a heap of tears, grieving and missing her husband. This caught her so off guard, thinking she might be past these gut wrenching moments, but, bam, she hit her wall hard and so unexpectedly. Wow, how odd, the second merry widow had experienced something similar that same day. Okay, the oddity magnifies, I told of my experience on that same day, actually that night, when I had completely, decomposed.
It was a cold night, I climbed into bed, shivering from the chill in the air and I heard the memory of Steve’s voice, “Get over here and and warm me up, I’m freeeeeezing.” I lost it. The tears came in torrents, out of the blue I was a heap of pitiful. I cried for the loss of Steve, for so wanting to feel his arms around me, and for the absence of never again feeling wrapped in his complete comfort. What an oddity that each of us had experienced similar emotions within a 12 hour period. I’m thankful to have my “selective” club of widows that understands and appreciates pitiful moments.
For some reason, Saturday was busy for me, but it still had a vacant feel to it. My hours were full, eventful, productive, but by late afternoon, I was cloaked in loneliness. Not allowing myself to seep too deep in being pitiful, I called my daughter and hinted, heavily, that I had nothing much going on. Clueing in on my widowedness, Brooke invited me to dinner with their family. I’m thankful to have a daughter and son-in-law who love me in spite of my oddities.
Nothing like having a 2 and 4 year old greet you with delight, smother you with hugs, kisses and compete in telling you the news of their day. My spirits lifted and all was right with the world.
Driving home, after dinner, I had an odd desire to drive through our old neighborhood. It had been months since I had made this detour, but oddly that night, I felt compelled to turn left instead of taking my straight route home.
Keep in mind, that it was about this time last year, give or take a few weeks, that I had made the move from “our home” to my current home.
Driving through this old familiar territory, I was overwhelmed with a sense that this was where Steve and I had built our home 14 long years ago. We had placed all our thoughts, desires, dreams and love into building our wonderful home. We had made precious memories in the walls of this place. We had watched grand children grow here, we had shared holidays and special occasions with friends and family here. Steve and I had said our last good-byes to one another within the walls of this home.
I had made many morning walks through the streets of this neighborhood. I knew well most of the people living behind the doors of each home. This was everything familiar, comfortable and right for me, for us.
Now here I was, driving through the gates of our once familiar subdivision, and it was suddenly…different. No longer did I feel the warm familiarity of home. The streets no longer held the comfort, the “I’m home” feel that had been the case only a year ago. Weird that I was no longer a part of what only 11 months ago had felt so right. I now drove through streets that now seemed unfamiliar, distant. I no longer belonged here. This oddly, was no longer home for me.
I look back over the last 18 months since life without Steve began. My life, my new life, was once so foreign, so strange, so odd. This is now is my normal. I now have a new home, new neighbors, new routines, and oddly, I have found my pace, and it no longer seems unusual, but standard, okay, comfortable.
Do I wish my new life felt odd? Do I wish that my old life still felt so right, so comfortable? Do I wish, no, do I long for my past life to remain as it was when Steve was still alive, still healthy, still himself? Absolutely, but, wishes aren’t reality. Life interferes, and what was once ordinary has become an oddity. What was once commonplace, becomes foreign and one is left with this feeling of being disconnected to what was once so identifiable.
Oddity, what once was second nature, is now a stranger.
What does one do with these misplaced feelings? I don’t know what most people do, but I know the best thing for me, is to sit down and put it all in writing. I suppose my hope, my desire, my prayer is, that the sharing of these oddities, will enable someone reading my words feel a little less isolated, a little less set apart, a little less alone.
For what it’s worth,
Galatians 6:2 “Bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”