After Rod died, I was faced with things and tasks that had always just gotten done. Especially technology.
Rod was a tech guy by profession. Early on in our marriage, he would try to explain things to me, and I would ask questions hoping to understand – and ultimately fix – my tech by myself. At some point, he decided it would take him less time to just fix the dang thing than tell me how to do it, so that’s what he did. I got used to having my own personal tech guy at my beck and call, keeping all my devices purring like content kittens.
My first tech battle came just weeks after he passed. I got a second cable box to put on my bedroom TV. I opted for self-installation rather than having it installed. Bad idea. It took two attempts, both fraught with tears, shouting, and a little slamming of the things, I must admit. But I got it installed, doggonit, and it worked.
Tech: 0, Gail: 1
Other battles ensued – many, like that stupid cable box, were fraught with deep, sometimes unidentifiable, sometimes explosive emotions. Sometimes the battle wasn’t even the thing; it was the fact that Rod wasn’t here to do the thing, or to do it with me. But you know what? I did the thing anyway.
But there was no one to notice. No one to acknowledge my victory over the mundane. No one to pat me on the back or cheer me on. No one to tell me how amazing I was for facing all these battles.
And I was waiting for someone to notice. I was waiting for someone to tell me I was amazing . I was feeling sorry for myself because there was no one to see that I was accomplishing … well, anything.
Two and a half years after Rod passed, my siblings and I made the decision to move our parents from another state to live in an Assisted Living community near me. It was a lot of work, and most of this task fell to me. Once they were settled in, my dad, whose dementia was only bad enough for him to realize that it was getting bad, felt bad for taking up so much of my time and energy. I reassured him that I was happy to do this for him; he’d given up a lot to provide for and raise me, now it’s my turn.
“You’re something!” he said.
In that moment I realized I don’t have to wait for someone to tell me.
“I’m amazing, that’s what I am!” I responded.
It felt so good to hear those words, even if it was in my own voice.
So, in case no one has told you, you are amazing.
To the widow who finally slept in her own bed, you are amazing.
To the widow who got herself out of bed and remembered to brush her teeth, you are amazing.
To the widow who remembered to feed the dog, you are amazing.
To the widow who made it to the couch with a bag of Donettes and a box of tissues, you are amazing.
To the widow who takes care of those babies, you are amazing.
To the widow who showed up at parent’s night, you are amazing.
To the widow who takes care of the grandbaby that he will never get to see, you are amazing.
To the widow who sold their house, you are amazing.
To the widow who mowed the whole frickin yard by herself, you are amazing.
To the widow who has traveled … anywhere, you are amazing.
For all those battles you’ve fought and challenges you’ve faced, regardless of the outcome, I want to tell you, you are amazing.
Keep on keeping on, because it’s not about the winning, but about the trying. And remember to breathe.
Until you can tell yourself, I want to tell you –
You. Are. Amazing.