Once, when I foolishly allowed Q&A from the dear readership, Sally asked me if I ever pondered a future where Will hadn’t died. Hadn’t been sick at all in fact.
Truthfully, I hadn’t and still don’t see the point of such an exercise though I know that it is a common one among widowed folk.
But I was talking with my BFF tonight, making plans for an upcoming trip down south and she mentioned that Will’s best friend, Wally and his wife Cherish were struggling to pay for their son’s funeral last month. I’d mentioned at the time that I planned to send a donation but there wasn’t a fund set up to send anything to, so I hadn’t done anything about it yet.
To be more honest, I discovered that shortly after the funeral Wally made a point of asking BFF’s husband to take him to visit Will’s grave and it peeved me a bit. Not that Wally made the visit. As I understand it, Wally stages regular pilgrimages to the cemetery to see Will. What grates is that he shows more devotion to the rock I buried Will under than to Will’s daughter – his goddaughter, who he hasn’t bothered to inquire about personally for the last three years.
Now that I have gotten that petty digression off my chest, there is a fund-raising effort underway to help with the expenses. Cherish contacted BFF’s husband and told them that the funeral home had given them 30 days to pay off the $12,000 they’d spent.
How they managed to rack up such a bill, BFF didn’t know. Having dealt with these funeral home people, I don’t have the same difficulty imagining it. I do, however, wonder why the funeral home extended any credit at all to a couple who’d recently declared bankruptcy for the second time.
Money is to be sent to BFF’s hubby and he will cash checks and turn it into a money order to send to Wally and Cherish – as their bank is no longer on good enough terms with them to allow for checks to be made out directly to them*.
I told Rob about the conversation later in the evening and admitted that if there was a hell – and I am certain that’s just a Catholic wives’ tale – I would burn in it for my thoughts about the whole situation.
“If Will was still alive,” I said, “I’d be up to my neck in the whole sordid affair trying to keep him from spending our money to bail them out.”
Rob just circled his arms around me, drew me close and said,
“Yeah, you are so going to hell.”
“Maybe not though,” I said. “He’d be 35. He could have outgrown that high school blind loyalty thing.”
“No,” Rob said, “he wouldn’t have.”
Damn, my husband is good. He knows me and he knows Will through me.
But he was right, I’d have spent the last month alternating between guilt and anger trying to reign in Will’s insane devotion to friendship regardless of reality.
BFF regaled me with accounts of the funeral. Will’s buddies gathered to be pall bearers. They carpooled to the visitation and then headed off to the hotel where they proceeded to party all night like it was a high school reunion. Not one of them offered to help BFF’s hubby out when it came time to pay for the rooms nor did they offer any assistance to Wally and Cherish.
All but one or two of them have donated to the current fundraising effort. I guess it should go without saying that not one of them asked me if I needed help paying for Will’s visitation or burial. I did, but my aunt helped me out without even having to be asked. She wouldn’t even discuss my paying her back.
So, I guess Sally, I do sometimes play out current day scenarios with Will in them. Usually when something/one from the past disturbs my present. His friends get married or experience tragedy. His mother or aunt sends a card and asks for pictures that I sent already but just haven’t arrived there due to the paranoia at the border thing. When the past intrudes, I wonder what life would be like. Look like. What he would be like as a 36 year old man because I have nothing to base this on as he was 28 when he was diagnosed and effectively ceased to exist as the man I knew. It’s quite the gap to fill and my fiction instincts err on the side of the awful for some reason. I never imagine hearts, flowers and perfection like many widowed do.
*Or so she says. I know way more about their finances than I need to due to the fact that Cherish’s younger sister worked at the health club I went to back in Des Moines and her sister … had a big, indiscreet mouth. If my sister shared that much information about me with strangers, there would be consequences. Let’s just say that the whole story is fishy. Can a couple declare bankruptcy twice in four years?”
2 thoughts on “Lot’s Wife”
Interesting exercise- you and Rob seem like equal adult partners, whereas you and Will seemed to have a more polarized relationship, with each of you responsible for completely separate facets of your relationship.
Living in the present seems so much more healthy, for a multitude of reasons, doesn’t it? (Such as the improved psychic/emotional health that comes with (we hope) maturity and insight.)
Will didn’t have siblings and regarded some of his friends the in a way that I did my brother and sisters. It’s not a wrong or right, but he was in his twenties and I was in my thirties and our perspective was different.
He also had that not-so blind loyalty thing going on. It wasn’t that he didn’t see, he just chose to overlook and that made me crazy. It still makes me crazy. I think that blatantly unacceptable behavior has to be called and that sometimes you can/need to step away and let someone stand in the rainfall of their own chips.
Rob and I came to our relationship from marriages that didn’t fail – they just ended. So no baggage on that account. We knew what worked and what didn’t from our previous experiences. We had clear expectations of each other that we stated upfront (not something that people going into first time marriages generally do as they are still “maturing” and they “grow up” together). There is still give/take and learning but it’s not as surprise laden as the first time around.
Your observation (and I am not criticizing it) is one of the reasons I don’t speculate much and certainly not for public consumption. Will was just 28 when he ceased to be mentally/emotionally. The year leading up was fraught with changes – parenthood, shifting family/friendship ties, his mounting illness – I can’t base any projections on that. And the time before? That was newlywed – it is easy to see that we had a foundation but we never had time to really plan much beyond it. It’s not fair to him, or to what was us, to make too many assumptions about what might have been.
And just as an aside, it annoys me when some widowed blithely assume that they would have continued on in perfection. There is no way to know that. Tomorrow or next year or ten from now is grounded in a future that is unknowable and people change for better or for worse – sometimes at a moment’s notice. Just my issue.