What do You Think?

So I bought a table.


It was only forty dollars, and it’s a little round glass patio table.  Shelby and I spent an hour or so unpackaging it, laying the parts out, and assembling it.  I know this sounds completely mundane, even boring, but bear with me.  This table symbolizes something.


It’s not sentimental, really.  It wasn’t something that Megan always wanted, or an item that had been passed down to her from a grandparent or family member.  It truthfully is “just a table”, sitting on the deck at my house.  

However, it’s a table that Megan will never sit at.  It’s on a deck that she never got to relax on.  She didn’t get to help Shelby put it together, and watch her do most of the work.  Megan had absolutely zero bearing on the decision to buy this particular table.  It’s not hers, and it never will be, and that’s why it is important.

I didn’t consult Megan on it.  For all I know, she wanted a concrete bar with a built in grill and sink, complete with wood burning fireplace and multiple beer taps on the deck (I doubt it, but I like to think she would be on board with me turning it into a tiki bar).  I made a decision, executed on it, and didn’t blink.


I’m getting better at things like this since she died.  It’s not that I don’t care what her opinion would be, of course I care, but there’s no way for me to find out what her opinion is.  She didn’t put anything in her will about cheap tables, and what her wishes would be for them.  I’m not psychic either, the last time I checked.  Maybe I could ask a medium or see if she had ever talked to her friends about deck feng shui.  


No.  I hate to say it, but she doesn’t GET to have an opinion.  It’s both disturbing and gratifying to say that.  That statement brings mourning and empowerment together.  It’s “bittersweet”, as Michele put it at camp.  I’m embracing it.  Just as we should not internalize other’s opinions as our own, so too should we not internalize those we’ve lost’s opinions as our own because frankly, they don’t have an opinion. 


We surely know what that opinion would be though, right?  I mean, every decision we made when she was still alive was done without actually consulting her or talking about it, because I knew what she felt, and that always worked out just fine.  We never needed to talk about anything, because “we were one” and “we completed” each other, so I could be confident that whatever i decided she was completely and totally on board with it*  


*the sarcasm is implied very, very heavily above.  


That’s the point.  I can separate her influence from her opinion, every day.  Her influence is what drove me to get “something” for the deck, but her opinion had no bearing on what that something was.  I could have gotten a hot tub, a bar, or a little table. It didn’t matter what I got, because she doesn’t have to see or use it.  All I knew is that she wanted to furnish the deck (because we did talk about that), but she was admitted to the hospital before we talked details, and frankly, it wasn’t that important at that time.

I'm rambling for sure.  It's just a table, right?  However, the same mindset will be needed as Shelby gets older.  The same mindset will be needed when it's time to get a new car, or when it's time to move to a new home.  It's the only way I will be able to be an adult and take action as life happens.

I could mire myself in fear and wondering about decisions like this, wondering what she would think, or I could sit on my deck and enjoy a cup of coffee while I think it out myself, because I bought a table.

Showing 3 reactions

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  • Melissa Bernasek
    commented 2016-03-23 04:02:39 -0700
    Gosh ain’t that the truth. Mitch and I closed on our house and he died four days later. Now my new husband and I are living in a place that was intended for me and someone else. Every thought that went into buying this specific house doesn’t apply any more. Don’t get me wrong, we are happy and this is a great house, but I’m trying to live a new life when I’m surrounded by my old one.
  • Don Yacona
    commented 2016-03-22 15:16:19 -0700

    I have been doing the same thing. Arlene and I were Sandy survivors who had to abandon our house due to delayed issues from the storm. Almost all of our furniture had to go, walls had to be repainted and repaired and because she was going to be in a wheelchair mostly when she came home 2 years later without her legs. We were in the middle of that project when she passed. The floor she had picked wasnt going to work in the house, too expensive and too much work to install it. So i had to pick out something that would kind of be in the same family as what she wanted. I also picked a new tv stand for the living room because our wall unit was a casualty. I am now fixing the room that was what I called Estrogen central because it was her sanctuary. This means picking verticals that will go with the sectional that she bought for that room and never saw in the house because she couldnt weight bare enough to clime the stairs to get in. I sit in a living room with new furniture that she never saw in the house for the same reason. And do you know what? This is so unfair and it really sucks. I hate it. It feels like a different house and I dont want to come home to it because she isn’t there.
  • Marissa Hutton
    commented 2016-03-22 12:36:45 -0700
    Bravo, Mike! I purchased a recliner and a few TVs since my husband passed and while it may not be a big deal to most folks, it is to me because he was the one who put a lot of thought into furniture and electronics while I was just concerned with it fitting in our home and our budget.

    The thought of buying stuff without any input from him was daunting at first but now I just do it, then sit back and think “I made a good choice. He would be proud.”