Much is being said in the news cycles these days about the safety of women. Like so many things, this hits me differently, as a widowed woman. Yes, I grew up being told all the usual things you hear about how to keep myself safe. I’ve done all the things from “walking confidently” to never walking alone at night, to carrying my keys between my fingers, and so many more. These things did not change when I got married, but my emotional well being did change, in that I felt safe knowing my husband would always be there for me, no matter what. He made me feel safe, both physically and emotionally.
One of the very first things that happened after his death, was my mother brought me an antique bully stick that had belonged to my grandmother, to keep next to my bed. “In case.” I somewhat sarcastically wondered how much help would that really be, if the worst were to happen, but I accepted it, and it remains under my bed over 11 years later. I live in a very small town where many people still don’t bother to lock their doors at night, so statistically I and my children have always been very safe. And yet….
I’ve grown used to being single, although I still never refer to myself that way…I feel like it erases our marriage and commitment somehow. But I continue to long for that feeling of safety. The knowing that your partner will comfort and shelter you in all times when you need it, without fail. Falling into their arms at the end of a bad day, and reveling in the embrace which somehow magically makes things seem a bit better. Taking care of each other in all times.
One time, when our oldest was just a baby, I got a flat tire on the way home from work, and picking him up from daycare. This was before the days of everyone having cellphones, and I had to head into what we jokingly referred to as “the scary diner” to ask to use their phone. I was a petite woman, with an infant in tow, an undrivable car, asking strangers for a favor. Gary immediately left work, arrived, and began changing the tire. He handed me his car keys, and told me to take the baby home. I remember jokingly telling him, “this is why I married you.”
In the years since he’s been gone, I’ve of course had other car issues. Thank God for AAA. Perhaps I should be a better powerful woman, and learn to change those tires, or fix minor issues. At this stage of the game, however, it’s just not gonna happen. So now I sit and wait for the AAA tow trucks, while I methodically examine the surroundings, planning possible escape routes, or keeping my phone in my hand, ready to call 911.
There is no substitute for the feelings of safety and security that come with having a loving partner. Widows know that in our souls, on so many levels. Physical, emotional, financial, and even socially. Our society is built on the idea of a nuclear family. Losing one’s partner in life is so much more than losing a person. May we all feel truly and completely safe again one day soon.