I am jealous of old people.
Every single old person that I see walking down the street. I am jealous of them.
The bitter ones.
The wrinkled up, exhausted by life ones.
The healthy ones.
The sick ones.
The ones who have made it into their late 80's or even early 90's, and who are still walking side by side with their partners.
The husband who grabs his wife's fragile hand, pulling her up that last small step, into their favorite diner.
The wife who rubs soothing lotion or cream into her husband's back and neck, in places where he can no longer reach on his own.
I am so jealous of them, I cannot see straight. Jealous that they exist. Confused as to why they get the honor of living so many years, and my husband doesn't. Angry that they know what it's like to spend decades upon decades with the same person by their side. Decades. It's the most beautiful word in the atmosphere, because we never made it to decades. Not even one decade. Not even half of a decade. We never even made it to 5.
It bothers me. It bothers me more than it should, perhaps. It bothers me that so many numbers move forward each year.
The dates move forward: 2011, 2012, 2013 ...
My age moves forward: 39, 40, 41 ....
Time moves forward. Time always moves forward. But when it does, the number of years that my husband and I were married will always remain the same. Four and a half years. Never more. Never.
My marriage made me less afraid. Less afraid of life. Less afraid of growing old. Getting sick. Watching other people grow old or get sick. My marriage made me want the honor of being old together. Living life together. Facing pain and laughter and horrors and adventures and many ordinary, nothing special days - together.
My husband used to do an impression of himself as an old guy. It was hilarious, and frighteningly accurate as to how he probably would have been. "I can't wait to be old!" He would joke with me. "It's gonna be awesome! I get to do whatever the hell I want, and everyone just writes me off as the old, senile guy. I can kick kids off my property and yell at people and drive all over the damn place, not looking out for anything or anyone. I can say inappropriate things and sit in my own filth and nobody will think twice about it. How great is that?"
He moved from Florida to New Jersey to be with me, so I always used to tell him that one day, we would move back to Florida together. When we are old and ready to croak - just like everybody else. We always laughed about what we would be like as an old couple, going to the Golden Corral for the $9.99 buffet at 4pm. Helping each other up those stairs. Home by 7 to watch "Murder She Wrote."
It's not fair. I don't know how to grow old alone. I don't wanna do it alone. I need my teammate, my other half, so that I can be less afraid again. How am I supposed to do this without someone there to hold up my fragile bones? I know I shouldn't think about this stuff. I know. I should stay in the present. Live for today. But it's my nature. I'm a worrier. I can't help it. I lay awake at night, thinking about being old. Thinking about having to one day face the death of my parents - without my husband by my side. How the hell am I supposed to do that??? HOW??? The very thought of it gives me chills, and makes my skin sweat. Facing things that are scary, without you. Forever.
Time moves forward. Life moves forward. But our marriage stays stuck at just over 4 years, and you will never be an old man. I will have to be an old woman, and you will never be an old man.
What would you have looked like? How would you have acted? I will never know those things. But I do know this .......
When I am 42 next week, you will still be 46. When I am 50, you will be 46. When I am 70, 80, 90, gone ...
You will be 46. You will always be 46.
And time will keep pushing on .
NOTE: Since I have started writing at "Widow's Voice", I have been sharing Fridays with Chris Weaver, the sole widower expressing his voice amongst the sea of widows here. I always loved reading Chris' Friday posts. Not just because I was getting the male perspective, but because he is a good writer, and his words carried such truth and promise in them. Last week was Chris' last blogpost here - for now. For awhile. Never say forever, because you just never know. But for the immediate future anyway, Chris has moved forward to conquer his next chapter, and I wish him all the best. So, with that being said, I am honored to now be writing here and coming to you live each and every Friday. I look forward to laughing and crying and sharing with you all, and as always, thank you so much for reading.