We had been holding vigil all day in Don’s hospital room. At midnight, I made the call to discontinue his oxygen (the order had been written in the morning – the nurse was just waiting for my ok), and minutes later, Don died. That was one year ago today. June 10, the day I became a widow.
I’d been at the hospital for something like 18 hours that day. I was exhausted when I finally left, and I put the only dent in my car that it ever had. A few months later, I got the dent repaired. You can’t even tell that it happened. I suppose that if you just looked at me, you might not be able to see all the dents that I’ve weathered.
It seems I’ve been wanting to fool myself a bit about it, too. Maybe a week ago or so, I decided that the anniversary of Don’s death was tomorrow, not today. As if I could somehow skip the day by doing that, I think. Then this morning, I woke up, and I realized I’d got it wrong. He didn’t die on the 11th, he died on the 10th. I knew that! At first I was a bit ashamed of myself, but then I realized that it was just a thing that I did to myself to protect myself from…something. Who knows what. As if somehow, by skipping the anniversary, it wouldn’t be so – but I’ve lived without Don here for a year now.
And it’s been an interesting year. I could barely function right after Don died. I couldn’t think straight. I had time to reflect on that this morning, as I finally went to get my taxes done. It appears that I did make some good decisions in those first few months. I didn’t make a ridiculously extravagant purchase with the life insurance money. I didn’t pay off the rest of the mortgage leaving me nothing to live off of. So I’m doing all right in that regard.
Taxes seem to bring things full circle for me. I mean, I was trying to figure out how to get the taxes done when Don was dying last year. I finally went to Ft. Myer legal services and they took care of it for me (and Ft. Myer is taking care of me again this year – I really am very grateful to the military). But then it seems very strange to be filing as married and filing jointly. Because for half of 2013 I was married. I was. It was so long ago, and not.
Since then I’ve started and nearly completed my parish internship. I’ve gone to see the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and been granted preliminary fellowship. I’ve discovered that my call is to parish ministry. I’ve been graduated from seminary. Two congregations have voted to ordain me in ministry. We’ve had another grandchild. Matt Smith left Doctor Who and a new Doctor is coming. A lot has happened.
I miss Don, but I can’t live in the past. I can’t, and I don’t want to. We had a great life together, but I’m still able to enjoy life – and there is quite a lot to enjoy. Did I mention the grandchildren? And that’s just one thing. Well, nine things. Nine little big things.
One year. So much. There were 21 really good years that we had together that came before, and I’m so glad for that. I guess I’ll just keep going forward.
That’s it. That’s my mite.