Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Year of Living Alone

My husband, Felix, died a year ago today.  Losing someone I had awakened with day after day for 43 years was a life changing event.  But for the love and support of my family, immediate, extended, adopted, in my work places and around the globe, the loss  would have been too much to bear.  You all know who you are and I thank you profoundly. I am truly blessed.

                                                        Immediate family a year ago

Time flies, indeed.  Felix used to say I should travel when he was no longer around.  He, of course, loved travel. In our younger days, we took the kids across America and Canada in our apple green Volkswagen camp mobile.  After years of faithful service and neglect, an eye sore on our driveway, I sold it for $300.00 and he never forgave me for it.  Never mind that the muffler could be heard miles away or that it stalled on the railroad tracks with my brother-in-law, Vic and my son, Robert in it. But that was Felix.  He could never part with anything. 

So, my first mission was to declutter my house, filled with coolers (He loved coolers and had maybe fifty of them.) extension cords, refrigerators, electronic components, laser disc player, betamax (remember those?)  I have filled and sent  Balikbayan boxes (cargo boxes that go to the Philippines) and have more to fill. It has not made a dent in my garage and basement.  It may take the rest of my life.

Next, I fixed the house.  It started with badly needed roof repairs, then new windows to replace rotted old ones, and hey, since I was on a spending roll now, why not the kitchen and the floors and so on.  I have transformed our house into my house.  It is all right. “ Do anything you want when I’m gone.” He said. And I have.  I had the kitchen cabinets painted chocolate brown and put funky glass tiles on the back splash.  My brother-in-law, Vic , (a dentist) and his electrician friend spent two 10 hour days setting up a classy TV and audio system, on top of the fireplace and in my bathroom that even Best Buy would envy.  Interesting, since I watch TV once or twice a week if at all. ( It must have been a Felix kind of thing.)

I have changed jobs, a not so easy move since my work family had been a steady rock of support through the years of Felix’ illness.  I miss them.  The new me decided to serve soldiers.  It turned out to be no sacrifice whatsoever because the pay is good (the work- tiring 10 hour days) and the soldiers are just wonderful to work with.  I will not stay in one place for long.  There are US military bases all over the world and I plan to work in as many of them as life permits.  That is how I hope to travel.  Of course, there are the weekend trips here and there.  My children, Emilie, Melissa and Rob are getting used to getting an email telling them where I will be, for how long, so they know when to get worried.

I am taking classes,too.  I took an HTML class to try to become worldwide web literate.  I am pursuing a dream of becoming a yogi so I am enrolled in that, too.  If I am deserving, I will eventually become a swami and you can call me by my swami  name.  I might even grow my hair long and wear flowing robes, you never know. “Warning: When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple…” Google it.

Couples who have lived together long eventually have an intuitive relationship with each other, like having the bad habit of finishing each other’s sentences or the bane of therapist’s existence, speaking for each other.  I have continued to do that with Felix.  I intuit and give him jobs like looking for lost objects and checking out decisions I am about to make.  He has not failed me yet.  We never really lose anyone.  We simply relate on a different plane.

Last year, my sons in law threatened to have a custody fight over me.  I saved them from themselves by choosing to live alone.  Dan, Alex, having the mother-in –law for a week is way different from living with her every day, getting underfoot and embarrassing you in front of your friends.  I love you but trust me on this and thank me later.

So it seems that I have moved on and in many ways, I have.  But I do still have those days of overwhelming sadness for not being around the physical person that Felix was.  I know now that those days  will never go away.   I am glad I live alone because I can weep like a mad woman and not worry about inflicting my pain on those I love.
More grandchildren

This year, I have learned a most important lesson.  It is about loving.  For as long as I am a lover who loves for the joy of loving someone and not because I need to be loved back, love can endure forever, transcending time and space.  Love multiples.   I can keep loving everyone I have ever loved and still have room for those I have yet to meet, because there is an endless supply where it comes from.


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