A Wandering Widow

PinkSuitcase1.JPGI am traveling…yes, I’m off island once again. My poor little pink suitcase I bought the year after Mike died had to be taken out of service because the stitching actually ripped open this last trip, it’s been used so much. I can’t remember ever having a suitcase get worn out…and I can’t remember when in my life I’ve stayed in so many different houses and hotel rooms in one year. 

 

Wanderlust? A little. My friend Margaret and I talked about how we feel itching to pick up and go these days, when we had barely any thought of doing so when our husbands were living. Is that a thing? Widows wanderlust? It just feels like I don’t have the same attachment to home, without Mike here…yes I have my dogs, and the musician, whom I care for very much, but it’s just…different. I feel set adrift but not in a yay I’m free kind of way, more like a bewildering hey why’d you let go of me kind of way.  But I jump at any chance to go, and would go even more if I could afford it.

 

This time I’m off to help my stepdaughter after the birth of her third child. With a four year old and a two year old on top of the newborn it’s a whole new ballgame. Thankfully her mother-in-law has been there until now, and we arranged for me to fly in the day she leaves, then the day I leave my stepdaughter’s mom arrives. Three grandmas racing in to be of service of the most wonderful kind. I am deeply honored to be asked to be a part of it all. Because this is my family. We might be cobbled together through divorce and death, but here we are, with lots of love to go around too. Her mother-in-law actually has lost two husbands…when Mike died I thought my son-in-law would split in two from sorrow at having now lost three dads. But I am happy to report this smart, kind young man has turned it into a lust for life and love for family that shows clearly on the happy faces of my stepdaughter and grandchildren. They are all a joy to be around.

 

I look out into the world and see friends and family with “normal” lives…at my age many of them have teenage children and bustling careers and spouses of 20 years or more…and when I look back at myself I see nothing normal at all. I was the third wife of an older man with two grown girls…I moved very far away on the planet with him…I went from Hollywood to just about anything else to make a living, including, for a time, a homemaker, which I always felt proud to be. And then he died, leaving me suddenly widowed in middle age, an unexpected chunk of my life now to be lived without him. 

 

I keep busy in perhaps a superficial way, just keeping the cogs well-oiled…but much of it is because I think if I sit still for too long the grief will plunk itself down heavily on my chest, instead of being left straggling behind me, only able to paw at my back. And I’m hoping a new job with a friend will come into play sometime this spring, but if not, I’ll have to figure something else out I know. Meanwhile, it’s all about the grandkids, and I’m happy to leave the foreclosure shadow looming as I go, knowing I will be busy dealing with that head-on upon my return.

 

So I bought a new little pink suitcase which is half-filled with gifts for the kids, and as you read this I will be in the midst of it all, smiling little faces, diapers and legos, trips to the park and snack time. I hope I can really be a help, but one thing I do know, this will create a memory I will always treasure, being able to be there for them and see baby girl in her first weeks of life.  I have Mike to thank for all of it, even as his missing presence tears at our hearts, as it always will, as these little ones grow, never knowing their incredible Grandpapa.

 


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  • commented 2016-03-07 15:28:22 -0800
    Thank you for your post. My ‘story’ is similar to yours. I too was the third wife of an older man whom I loved with all my heart, and everyday of our marriage (26 years), I knew that he loved me. It’s been 6 months since I lost him. I miss him so much and the life that we had together. We always knew, that given our age difference, we would not go ‘shuffling into the sunset’ together, but it doesn’t hurt any less. When I tell people I’m a widow, they say, ‘oh you’re so young. How old was your husband?" When I tell them, the just look and stare and don’t know what to say. Love, true love, has no age boundary. Enjoy your patchwork quilt. It’s beautiful!!
  • commented 2016-03-04 21:44:04 -0800
    Lisa what a beautiful way to put it…we are patchwork quilts aren’t we? Thank you…It’s well worn but it is MY quilt and I wouln’t trade having lived it either. Blessings.
  • commented 2016-03-03 12:13:06 -0800
    Stephanie these words you wrote so eloquently totally reflect where and who I am today. I look at my life like a well-worn patchwork quilt while others around me have a smooth cashmere blanket. I hate the grief that accompanies me, but I wouldn’t trade my quilt for anything. Enjoy the ohana and your travels!

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