Jo went down to Nashville TN this weekend to spend time with her two daughters, sister, and niece…leaving me alone for the weekend. And that’s fine. I can handle it. Except…I do feel alone. Sure, there are the animals…but…they are animals after all. I talk to them, but they don’t talk back. Maybe bark or purr or something but no talk at all. And all the routines that we have all but perfected since my retirement…are not there this weekend. I have parts of those routines, but they are pretty one sided. It’s like trying to play ping pong with no one on the other side of the table…ha, ha.
So, I notice the empty spaces. The empty spots in my routine. Only make enough coffee for myself on these three mornings. Half the pot is…empty. I’m all alone in bed at night. Half the bed is…empty. I go about my routines and use my portions of the house that I spend most of my time in. But half the house is…empty. I am alone here in the half empty house.
I try to use my time to do the things I like to do most…but except for the honey-do jobs, I have been doing that a lot of the time anyway. There is no ‘benefit’ to having her away from the house unless I NEED that…empty. I don’t. This house is big enough for both of us to peacefully co-exist. The alone is very strange to me…but makes me think.
I know its not really like one would have if their spouse died…but it makes me think about it. How do people make that change…especially after how many ever years they spend together? We, like a lot of long time couples, don’t really spend much time apart. Maybe a day now and then. And maybe occasionally a night. But we have not spent three nights apart in a long, long time…if ever. I don’t remember having spent that long apart. I think that if the alone was going to be permanent…and seemingly endless…as it will be when one’s spouse passes, one would have to change things. Make different routines that no longer included the other so that you didn’t have to FEEL that emptiness…that aloneness…so deeply…at every turn.
And it is inevitable…that one of us…will HAVE to feel this feeling on that permanent…and seemingly endless basis at some point in our lives! One of us…will die first!
It is no real comfort to me that I will probably be that one. I am the man, and I am 8 years older, and the man usually dies first most of the time anyway. But that is no comfort to me. I really don’t want her to have to feel that emptiness permanently. If someone had to to it…to go thru this feeling alone for the rest of their life…I would rather it be me.
She is down in Nashville this weekend with family…quite a few of them. There will be no time for her to be alone. I really don’t know how she would handle this end of it. Sure, I know she could…and would…but I would not want her to suffer for it. And that is what that permanent thing will be, I think…suffering. I don’t like that. I have spent my life trying to make her feel more at ease in this world…and less alone. And then I would go and leave her to it!!! I don’t like that.
Just about every experience I have…gets me to thinking. And this experience…has me thinking about that…leaving her alone some day. And there is no changing that, without both of us dying at the same time. And that of course is a long shot. And I wouldn’t like that either…leaving our kids behind with no parents at all…all at once!
There is no fixing that either. We are all going to die some time. Most people, most of the time, don’t even want to think about it…let alone talk about it.
I break every few sentences and throw my head into my hands and rub my face as if trying to rub it all away. I know better.
She won’t be home again tonight. For two nights now I’ve gone to bed without her. For two mornings I awakened without her here. One more night…one more morning.
Tomorrow I get up early and go to babysit the grandkids. It will be a change of routine from these last two days of hanging around home and making my own decisions about what I will do without regard for anyone else…without having my wife here to include in those decisions. By tomorrow afternoon, she’ll be back home and we will be back into those routines where both of us are one half of the equation every day. Though I like quiet time some times…I don’t like the alone…the empty. And I don’t like to think about that in her future…or even mine for that matter.
I like to think that this weekend has got me at least just a little bit more able to empathize with what she may face in that future. Perhaps I can’t change what will happen after I’m gone…but maybe I can somehow make things better while I am still here….even though that is only a small comfort. I think I shall carry these thoughts with me now…about this alone feeling and the emptiness…for better or worse…