Olivia Arnold

Truth in a Weedwacker

Truth 1: I had never used a power tool to cut the grass at my house (up until this week).

Truth 2: I worked 2 (or was it 3 summers?) as a city worker cutting the grass using only power tools.  

Truth 3: I own some kind of fancy weedwacker that has hung in my garage for over 2 years now.

When I read the above statements I think they sound ridiculous together. It really makes no sense. I have a perfectly fine tool and am more than capable of using it but I let it just stay there untouched. But those are the facts and that’s how it has been. I guess I’ve let it be difficult.

When Mike and I lived together he cut the grass. I occasionally used our push mower but rarely since it was his domain. It was never that I couldn’t do it. I think it was more a play on how we felt like we were “playing house” in our happy little world. He decided to take it on I think in a mimic of a traditional old school male role. About a week or two before he died he bought this fancy weedwacker thing. He showed it to me with pride explaining the features. We joked about us being real adults and “making it” since we now owned this thing. He said, “okay, I’m going out to cut the ol’ grass honey” in this joking voice (he never really called me honey) and out he laughed.

2 days before he died he cut the grass. He left heaps of all the wet green grass on the weedwacker as he hung it up in the garage. Shortly after he died, the weedwacker taunted me. The grass on it was still green and the work was still fresh but he was gone. It just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t process it. He was just there. The grass on the weedwacker proved it.

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I once heard a phrase that if all the world’s problems were in a bag you would be trying to pick back your own. At the time I thought well of course, my problems are miniscule. Now I think that clearly wasn’t written by a young widow. I know there are still worse problems than mine; people who deal with major issues on top of being widowed and not to mention people living in third world countries. However, if I was offered a bag of possible problems mine would certainly not be at the top of the list of problems I would want.

I know it’s not particularly helpful to myself but today I’m feeling envious of other people. I’m envious of the people who got to be married to their person for their life. I’m envious of the people who got to celebrate their first or even second wedding anniversary. I’m envious of people who got to get married and have a baby, not a funeral, a year or two later. People that get to live seemingly “normal” lives with their spouses and families.

And I’m mad. I’m mad that I was able to plan a life with Mike that I never got to live. I’m mad that happiness does not just come naturally to me anymore. It’s something I have to be conscious of and work for so I don’t slip back into my dark hole. I’m mad that I can’t just relax into happiness. That I know that I need to do certain things consistently, like exercise and get outside, even when I’m busy or want to do other things so that I can keep myself in balance.

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Doing things a late twenty-something woman does...as a widow. Re-creating my life and identity, being outdoors, adventurous and active, teaching, laughing and crying, and living my new life a little less seriously.
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