Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Much to learn

I don’t know how to be a widower. But, then, I also never knew how to be a husband (in the legal sense) until I became one. On the other hand, back when Nigel and I first began our life together I was sure I knew how to be a life partner, but I was wrong: I had so very much to learn. I still do.

I used to think that the pain I feel, or at least its severity, would diminish in time. I don’t believe that any more, and now I think—though “hope” may be a better word—that I’ll eventually learn to live with it, just like I’ve learned to live with the side effects of my prescriptions.

Learning, then, is the obvious thing to do. I can’t prepare or plan for a life I could never, ever, have anticipated happening, or so goddam soon, but just as I learned how to be a partner and husband, so, too, I’ll have to learn how to be a widower, no matter how much I hate doing it. And I absolutely do hate it.

I’ll have to learn how to be by myself the vast majority of the time, when I was seldom alone for long when Nigel was alive. I’ll have to get used to talking to myself and the dogs instead of those wonderful, interesting, educational, and fun talks Nigel and I would have every day, sometimes going on for hours. And, I’ll have to grow old by myself, a prospect neither of us ever considered.

I put all that in the future tense because I’m definitely not yet there on any of those things; I still have so much to learn. The problem is that I don’t want to, and that conflict is, right now, unconquerable.

However, I’ve learned a few things already. I learned it’s possible to lose the love of my life, my true soulmate, and the shared life that was at the very centre of my universe, my one true compass point in the middle of the ocean, and my lodestar in the black, cold, vast emptiness of space, yet still wake up every morning. While I’m still pretty useless at living this radically different life, I have at least learned to live and be alive, and that’s no small thing, given what I’ve been through, the enormity of the job ahead of me, and the huge amount I still have to learn. That’s why I have hope I’ll learn what I need to, because I’ve already learned so much.

I don’t want to be a widower, nor learn how to be one. The first is a done deal, and the second is a necessity. It’s hard work, with many missteps yet to come, because I still have so very much to learn.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm writing this blog post, which says, in essence, I don't know ANYTHING, but I bumble through it anyway.