An Anniversary Gift

On Rob’s wedding anniversary last month, he was awakened early in the morning by the feeling that someone was touching his leg. He thought it was me. I often put my leg on his when we have drifted away from each other in the night. But, when he checked, he realized that I wasn’t touching him at all. It was a nice gift on this first anniversary of their wedding day that he and Shelley could not spend together. Other women, even widowed ones, might have found this revelation by their new husbands a bit strange, but I was glad that they were able to have this bit of contact. And I was a little jealous. I didn’t “hear” from Will at all last August on our first anniversary apart. To be fair though, I was in a lot of pain and feeling frustrated by my lack of ability to redirect my life. My new singular life was quite different from the limbo-ish widow in waiting life I had lived for the well over two years before his death, so even if he had sent me some kind of sign, I wouldn’t have noticed. I went to the State Fair that day with Katy, a place and event that Will loathed to his core. Nothing but overweight people and numerous opportunities for food poisoning in his opinion. The last place on earth my late husband would have chosen for a visitation which could be why I chose it. Who knows.


Today I woke hoping for some kind of sign from him, but instead I was greeted by my daughter looking for a snuggle. It was as good a gift as I could ever have hoped for in any event. After that I went about my morning in a state of hurried purpose. There was breakfast with Rob and getting Katy ready for Kinder-camp and no time to ponder the significance of the day. Any significance is part of my history now anyway.


As noon approached, Katy and I were back in the truck and headed home from town. Between dropping her off at camp and collecting her again, I had gone to the fitness center for a run, hit the grocery for supplies and picked up a few forgotten items for my home office. Katy watched Zaboomafoo  on the DVD as I absently listened to XM and pondered a predicament on the widow board that in retrospect wasn’t worth the time I had spent on it. I was thinking about my next move in said problem when I realized that XM was playing our song. The song that was always on the radio whenever Will and I went just about anywhere that first year and a half we were together. I can’t think of a single time the radio was playing that we didn’t hear it. He joked it was our song. I even suggested we dance to it at our reception, jokingly though he didn’t find it too funny. Why should have he? It’s a depressing song, What it’s Like by Everlast. I tuned in to the lyrics from my reverie to hear:


God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes 

‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose 

Then you really might know what it’s like… 

Then you really might know what it’s like… 

Then you really might know what it’s like… 

Then you really might know what it’s like… 

I’ve seen a rich man beg 

I’ve seen a good man sin 

I’ve seen a tough man cry 

I’ve seen a loser win 

And a sad man grin 

I heard an honest man lie 

I’ve seen the good side of bad 

And the downside of up 

And everything between 

I licked the silver spoon 

Drank from the golden cup 

And smoked the finest green 

I stroked the fattest dimes at least a couple of times 

before I broke their heart 

You know where it ends, yo, it usually depends on where you start 

I had to smile. Two husbands and both telling me the same thing. Rob is constantly reminding me that widowhood, and any life-altering event really, doesn’t change who people really are inside. It just magnifies what is already there. You can’t fix stupid, Rob says, quoting one of his favorite comedians, Ron White. He’s right of course. And Will was, in the subtle way that circumstances permit him, telling me the same thing. He understands where I am because he knows where I have been. He was there too. A helpless prisoner of his own body, but he was there. Not a bad gift really. And a really good song in retrospect. 


Happy Anniversary, baby, and thank you.

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