Labels are words that used to describe ourselves and others - a way to quickly and efficiently identify traits and tendencies.
When I think about the labels used to describe or identify me, the one that gives me most to think about is 'widow'.
Initially, I despised this branding. I hated the term and what it meant - that my husband was dead. I didn't see myself as the typical widow in black gracefully and wisely fading into the background. I wasn't sure if my personal portrayal of this word was proper or made me a 'good widow'. Somehow this term seemed to mean to me that I had failed.
Over time this feeling has changed. Now I wear this name tag with a little bit of pride and a lot of awe. I have made it this far. Two and a half years ago I would never have believed it. I did not think I would genuinely laugh again. I would not have imagined that I would enjoy life and all its' mysteries. It astounds me.
At the risk of sounding pompous, I am kind of proud of myself. I am stronger that I ever thought possible. I'm not a warrior, but a widow. And I have chosen to get out of bed each morning despite believing that the last morning that mattered had already happened. The loss of my husband has taught me that there are few things in life to be feared and that taking a leap of faith is far less terrifying as I once thought.
Now that I carried the 'medal' of widowhood, I wonder how long do I get to wear it? In five years, does the noun 'widow' get taken from me and get replaced with 'widowed'. Will it cease to be a label and instead become a verb? If I ever enter a relationship again, do I stop being a widow and become one of the ones on Facebook with the status of "Married"? I feel that I would be both....Would "It's complicated" be offbase?
I now wear my label as a mark of my late husband. An etching of "Jeff was here" in my perverbial bark. Although I may be ready for another label or two, I would like to keep my hard-earned 'widow badge', thank you very much.
For awhile, I have been thinking that I'd love a chiming wall clock. As a child, we always had a beautiful Dutch clock in our house that ticked away the time. This ticking sound reminds me especially of spending 'sick days' at my "Oma's" house vaguely listening to her clock as I dozed in an ill stupor reassured by the constant clucking of the clock and the itchy pale green blanket she'd provide. The day after mentioning my desire for a clock to my father, I was at my beloved Sally Ann gazing at a cute little wooden side table attempting to think of a location in our house that it would suit. Initially, I failed to notice the old cardboard box atop the table as I mused that someone must have passed away for all this beautiful wooden furniture to show up in the shop all at once. When I gently flipped open the lid of the box, I found a treasure inside. An amazing Canadian-made wooden chiming wall clock. Thrilled with my find, Briar and I paid for our score and took it home to install it on our wall immediately. It now ticks away the seconds, minutes and hours within our home...It makes me wonder about the previous owner and if they found comfort in the heartbeat that the clock provided.
My daughter, Liv, has always loved stories. Stories of mythical creatures and the lessons these myths hold seem to entice her imagination into applying these learning experiences upon her life.
Awhile back, for movie night, the kids and I watched ""The Secret of Roane Inish". After learning of the legend of the Selkies, Liv was truly enraptured and enthralled.
"The seas around Orkney and Shetland harbour the shy Selkies or Seal-Faeries (known as the Roane in Ireland). A female Selkie is able to discard her seal skin and come ashore as a beautiful maiden. If a human can capture His skin, the selkie can be forced to become a fine, if wistful, wife. However, should she ever find her skin she immediately returns to the sea, leaving the husband to pine and die. The males raise storms and upturn boats to avenge the indicriminate slaughter of the seals." -- Brian Froud and Alan Lee, "Faeries"
Liv has decided that her father was a Selkie. That the pull for the sea was too much for him and he had to return to his home....Leaving us behind - me, his wife and his 'Darkies', the offspring of the Selkie and a human. But she feels that he is happy in the sea and that one day we will see him there amid the waves.
While the thought that the pull of the ocean was stronger than his love for us fills me with sadness, this explanation of his 'departure' from us fits so very well that it carries some ....comfort, even for me. That he is back in the ocean that he so dearly loved. That there is a 'reason' for him to leave us. A need stronger than we were able to fight against.
As I watch my kids learn to accept the loss of their daddy, I find healing in their ideas and theories. To them, I am the giver of comfort. The one who offers a stable shoulder and an empathetic word. And I wonder if they will ever understand that not only does their presence make life more than bearable, but it brings me peace and understanding of our loss.
I know that he died. He is not literally in the sea. I know that he didn't leave us because he was a seal. But the sparkle and wonder in this theory adds a magic that is not present in the 'real' story of his loss.
And I love to imagine him in the place he loved best ~ the sea.
This blog contains a fair amount of swearing, painful and difficult subject matter. If you have objections of any kind, I believe it's your right to not agree. But, please, keep those objections to yourself and keep yourself busy withsomething else.
A few musings of a homeschooling, crafting, neurotic, organic loving and, most of all, kiddo adoring mommy...I've now become a widow. My best friend and husband died of a pulmonary embolism on March 25th, 2008. This blog has now become a place for me to mentally unload and try to figure out how to do this and who I am without him.