“When you die and I move to Finland**” is often heard in the house where I live. Always from the friend I live with to her husband of 10 years. It is always said rather matter-of-fact and casual; “babe take the dog out for a walk?” “it is your night to cook remember,” “When you die and I can move to somewhere colder…” all in the same tone.
Maybe I don’t get their sense of humor?
Am I being over sensitive after my own David passed away?
This is a friend I texted the morning I found my own David was gone. While she wasn’t in the thick of it she was in the periphery. The same friend who talked me out of my own mental health crisis and plummets of grief. I don’t understand wishing it on herself.
Humans are social creatures that live in a world where we are all connected like a giant web. We depend on each other for not only survival but growth. Who else loves you and helps you grow other than your spouse?
Family Therapist Virginia Satir once said “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth,” We need love. (See? The Beatles were right about something). We need people. We need each other, now more than ever.
“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” states: before a person can start to realize self esteem and self actualization we need to feel belonging and love.
The death of our spouse knocks out the bottom rung of our hierarchy. Our safety net is pulled from underneath us. Our ability to dream and hope and dwell in possibility. Our ability to dream and plan for those possibilities. Gone. In some cases overnight, in some cases violently, or due to illness.
I never thought about planning a possibility without David. It was the one possibility I couldn’t fathom in a universe where nothing is impossible. It can spiral downward to basic needs not being met at all because “why do I need to?” or “what is the point?” sentences sounding like “I couldn’t live without him, why should I start?” Starts sounding like plans and possibilities.
I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
Things I would wish on my worst enemy include (in case you were keeping track):
- AOL level dialup internet in 2021,
- Every plane trip you take marred by someone kicking the back of your seat,
- Always be stuck behind someone at the grocery store with 30 coupons and ‘wants to speak to the manager,’
- Frank self assessment,
- The ability to self-reflect.
Definitely not the widow stuff.
Never the widow stuff.
My friend is a: beautiful, sarcastic, intelligent human being. I love that we can both joke about wildly inappropriate things and nothing is off the table. But, joking about widowhood seems like sending it out into the universe.
Is that what I have the problem with?
That she seems to be pushing the idea into the universe?
Will it work like laws of attraction? Can the universe turn around and be like “okay. Let’s do it?”
I wish a lot of things for my beautiful sarcastic friend: like, one day seeing Finland. A lot of things, but this wouldn’t be one of them. Not on her, not on my worst enemy.
**Identifying details have been changed.