[Originally published on July 31, 2016 at ManyFacesofCheriG.com]
Obviously when you lose someone, especially someone who has been such a major part of your life for such a long time, there are numerous changes in your life. I have been learning to build things and make repairs (or at least need to make them before the professionals must be called in), all financial decisions are now placed squarely on my shoulders, and learning to sleep alone again has been challenging.
But I've found it's the little things that somehow have the most profound effect on me. You expect those major changes, but don't think about the everyday ones that end up having a fair amount of significance.
For instance, I bought my first step stool this week. Living with a 6-foot man with gorilla-like arms, I've never needed one. I took for granted that if I couldn't reach the rarely-used casserole dish or the ceiling fan light bulb that needed changing, I'd just ask my husband to handle it.
And last night, I drove my son and his girlfriend to "an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex" so he could take her to dinner. I had about 4 hours to kill, and ended up eating a light dinner and seeing a movie. Alone. At dinner, when I bit into my sandwich and realized it had (much despised) onions, I couldn't just trade with A. I could have just not eaten it, but that wasn't going to happen! [Insert eye roll here.] I had to suck it up, pick the onions off and keep going. I read a book on my iPad for most of the meal, trying not to look too awkward.
But the whole experience got me to thinking about all the times we've been out to eat over the years and if I don't like something, or can't finish it, A was a very willing "human garbage disposal", as we used to call him. Through the years, I've seen him eat my babies' discarded, nothing-left-but-mush, teething cookies, miscellaneous scraps left on a family member's plate, and the infamous "butt nut", a random peanut that had ended up in one of the kid's car seats on a long road trip, which my husband discovered and consumed after removing said child from the seat, and which my family brought up at random times for a laugh, my husband included.
At the movie, my first ever seeing alone, I didn't buy the popcorn, soda and Sno-Caps we
usually shared because, well, there was no one to share them with. Instead I purchased an "adult beverage" and drank it while watching Captain Fantastic (an absolutely incredible movie, if you're wondering!) in a nearly deserted theater (which is an absolute shame, if you ask me). Without the ability to alternate between salty and sweet without seriously exceeding my caloric limit for the day, it just didn't seem worth it.
Another little thing I miss, is our early morning routine, which consisted of my husband going downstairs to get us each a cup of coffee, and then returning with a "morning, beautiful" or some other declaration of sweetness (such as the numerous times he referred to me as "an angel in white" while my tousled and tangled hair was splayed out on our white bedding, or that one time he told me I looked like Kate Upton (which, while extremely flattering, is far from true and likely a result of his still sleep-addled vision at the time)).
It's not the in-bed service I miss - although in all honesty, that was nice, of course - but the time spent together, with both of us sitting up in bed, drinking our coffees and discussing whatever needed to be handled that day. Generally , just enjoying one another's company before it was time to shower (where my husband would occasionally lurk outside the shower door pretending to put quarters in the "Peep Show" a la Madonna circa 1986).
And shopping alone is very strange - there is no one to patiently hold my purse while I look at something that has either caught my eye or on which I need to compare pricing or nutritional content, to help me carry numerous bags to/from the car when my kids aren't home, or to return the carriage to the "cart corral" after the car has been loaded.
I realize that there are likely millions of people who experience most, if not all, of these things on a daily basis without blinking an eye. People who have been strong and independent either from a desire or from necessity and who would look at my "complaints" and scoff, finding me naive and infantile.
I'll be the first to admit I've led a somewhat protected life. Not protected from hardships such as financial struggle, emotional loss, or other harsh realities of life, but protected from having to concern myself with the little struggles, from having to single-handedly accomplish something, or from having to think about going through life on my own and all the daily minutiae that entails. So while I'm not helpless, I'm naive in many ways, although not clueless enough not to know it.
So each day will be a learning lesson, likely a lesson that should have been learned at least 20 or more years ago, and I will eventually (hopefully) become more comfortable (and adept) at doing some of these things alone. But I ask my friends and family to bear with me because it's all so new to me.
And remember that when all is said and done, the big things will definitely have an impact on who you will become, but it's the little things that will be treasured and missed the most.
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Published by Cheri G