Widow. What an ugly word. An old word. That’s what they’re calling me. Widow. My husband died last week – expected and sudden, shocking and mundane. He’d had ailments, but trudged forward, shoving life’s mischief to the side like a running back stampeding through menacing linemen. I had just finished writing a series of articles on grief for a magazine. A sign? How ironic that his final play rehearsal (he was an actor) had been one of perfection, praised by his director, marveled at by his fellow performers. In his den, his script highlighted and marked. In the basement, his makeup case, ready. An actor prepares.
Widow. Should I dress in black, my cheeks drawn and pale? Should I sit alone in the dark? We had plans you and I. To travel to Amelia Island where our friends lived or perhaps California to the home of a cousin. London. Italy again. Widow. We couldn't wait to share a fancy brunch at the restaurant we went to once a year on my birthday in March, sipping champagne, marveling at the river ambling by as if it had all the time in the world. Widow. I need the answer to a trivia question, I have a joke to tell you, see a play, iron your shirt, wait for a storm, tell you I got published, tell you I'm sorry, get your card, get rid of my guilt, take a walk, cut down a tree. Widow. Smile at you, yell at you, hug you, nudge you at the movies, sip your coffee/water/tea, find your keys, your wallet, your smile. Widow. An ugly word. An old word. Stop it. Come back.