WARNING: Lame attempt at grief-ridden humor
I hope some of these will make you laugh. I have no doubt that many, if not all, are relatable on some level. One of the few things that I’ve been able to rely upon over the past year and a half while stumbling along, grief-drunk and foggy, through this nightmare is my dark sense of humor. We girls must use whatever we have so we can find a way through this. Here are a dozen (hopefully) mildly humorous tidbits from my grief-ridden journey:
1. The empty nest isn’t at all what you imagined it to be. It’s excruciatingly hard. “Empty nest” before my husband’s diagnosis meant “party time” and “having our 20s in our 40s” and High Fives at the doorway each time we carried a bin of clothes off to a college dorm. Now? It has a different meaning. It’s not only that your grown-up babies leave home, but your husband died and is never coming back. The nest is literally empty. You got 2 weeks of “Empty Nest” with your husband before he was told he was going to die at 47 years old. You see the 289 photos of your peers taking trips to start their own empty nests in your Facebook feed. So, now you have your good reason to delete your Facebook. You went from a busy, vibrant family of 4 running to soccer tournaments and arguing over the relevance of 22 remotes for the TV…down to just you and your inner demons all within a year and half. You’d give anything to pick tighty-whiteys off the floor and turn off 30 light switches in various rooms which are on for no good reason. You’d give anything for someone to slam a door and yell at you. In fact, you do it yourself sometimes to the ghost you hope lurks in your hallway, just to feel like he’s still on this earth.
2. Speaking of tighty-whiteys…Fruit of the Loom men’s briefs make great cleaning rags. Your husband would be proud of your resourcefulness with some of the things he left behind for you to deal with.
3. Speaking of 22 remotes…Since none of them work, none of them actually go with the TV on the wall or the 64 other electronic devices near the TV that your husband knew how to use…but never taught you…none of them have a user manual or functioning batteries for that matter. So, using that modern mom resourcefulness, you line up the remotes on the coffee table, pull out a glue gun, a Bedazzler, some left over glitter from a long lost 7th grader of years’ past, and those good ol’ Creative Memories scrapbooking materials, and design an elaborate art project out of them. Because who the hell cares about scrapbooking memories now? What are you going to put into them? Pictures of your polish-less bare feet alone in the bed?
4. When you decide on a whim to get a tattoo near your right boob just to have the beefy male tattoo artist with a snake tattooed on his bald head touch you with his strong manly hands somewhat in the proximity of your right boob…you know you’re missing your husband’s hands on you at an almost unhealthy level. You’re paying cold cash to a guy who looks like a death row inmate to touch you near your right boob…with his latex covered finger tips and a needle full of ink. It really has gotten to that level of loneliness.
5. Sitting alone at a sports bar as a 40-something year old woman, while wearing a Steelers jersey on any fall Sunday afternoon…because you can no longer afford NFL Sunday Ticket…is a sad, sad vision. And no one buys you a drink either. Maybe they don’t like the Steelers, but you figure it’s really your newly developing middle-aged lady neck situation just giving you away. Forgot to wear a black turtleneck underneath the jersey. Then you realize you should’ve worn a Cleveland Browns jersey instead. For sure, some kind soul would’ve at least bought you a pity drink.
6. A “boyfriend” pillow (yes, you can buy them) has only one arm, and no matter what exotic name you give to him (Juan Pablo) he is still just a stupid freaking pillow who won’t hold you in return. And what’s slightly worse than a boyfriend pillow that won’t hold you? A ghost who won’t hold you. Boyfriend pillows suck because they remind you how much you miss being touched, being held – really held – by a man, any man, but especially…your man. (Reread #4 for one kind of resolution)
7. You still spend the same amount of money in the grocery store as you did when your husband was alive. The handful of pretentious healthy food items, pimped by people like the Kardashians, you buy for your new pathetic party-of-one…because you’re trying to eat right and take care of your lonely butt…and they are just as expensive as the many unhealthy food items you bought for him…<ahem>…the whole family, when he was alive and you had a family.
8. You don’t care that you look like a drowned rat while wearing his flannel shirt from 1987 and workout shorts and favorite sweatpants outside in public when walking the dogs. People look at you and think, “Check out that tiny homeless woman walking those little wiener dogs. She looks like she could use a sandwich.” Then they stop and give you a sandwich. Peanut Butter and Jelly. And not Organic Peanut Butter crap either. (Praise be) And you’re so damn hungry because you haven’t eaten a Cheetoh in a year and a half, you eat the sandwich as if you were indeed a homeless woman walking wiener dogs. You don’t care that his shoes are too big for your feet and that you’ll catch yourself tripping up the steps. You feel hugged by him in some strange way, so you endure the sheer foolishness of it all.
9. People are who they are, and losing a spouse does not change that at all. In fact, it may only reveal who they have been all along. This kind of grief doesn’t necessarily make them kinder or more compassionate, even toward their widowed peers who live with the same darkness and loneliness. It may even make them cruel. Don’t be fooled by the “widow” moniker attached to other people you meet on this Journey of Crappola. At the end of the day, it may just be a marital status for them or an inherent excuse to be what they really are…just asses.
10. When the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) store clerk knows you by your first name, you may need 1to reconsider your life choices…as well as the amount of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Coke Zero you’ve been consuming lately. Alone.
11. Whenever you see signs sticking up along the roads advertising all these 5K races for a cure for some cancer, and your husband was one who did not benefit from cures of anything, you have an overwhelming urge to drive all the signs over with your car and not care if you receive a citation. You don’t care if your insurance premium goes up. Plowing over these signs?…that’s your rallying cry, and damn it, it’s now your birthright, for all the money raised that has paid for more tee-shirts, balloons and ticky-tacky-knick-knacks that no one needs and did not help your husband’s cancer be cured one bit.
12. While observing an elderly couple at a rose garden as they sit together in sweet old people intimacy, and envisioning all the years and memories and being there for each other as their health began to fade and as the sun sets on their respective beautiful long lives…together…you find yourself glaring at them and hating them. You really, really hate them. You literally despise them and wish that a baby grand piano would fall out of the sky and land on their white-haired little heads. Then you come back to reality, realize you’re insane, get up, wipe your sweaty palms on your jeans, breathe in, breathe out, and go get a coffee or a grip or something in a glass with a shot of Fireball Whiskey.