Monday, August 20, 2012

My husband died

My husband died. One night he went to bed and just didn’t wake up the next morning. He was 51.

I miss him everywhere I go and in every thing I do, but I try to look for silver linings and smile when I find them. He died peacefully in his sleep – a silver lining. My family came to my aid and rallied like I’ve never seen them do before – a silver lining. I can finally throw away that ratty t-shirt of his that should have been forcibly taken away by the government years ago – a silver lining. Except now I want that shirt. And, of course, the seat is always down now – a silver lining.

My husband was the proverbial gentle giant. Standing six-foot-three with a belly like Santa’s, he never once raised his voice about anything. He looked like he could take a tree out with his bare hands if he wanted, but he never got mad. There was always the daily morning rant about the idiots on the ‘Opinions’  page in the paper, but even then he never got mad enough to write back with his own opinions.

And he had charm. Mason could charm a snake charmer. It would be hard to find a person who didn’t get along with him. He turned that charm into a career as a big-time ad guy on Madison Avenue, and was a man with more friends than you can imagine. At his memorial service, we had 150 programs made up, just to be safe. We ran out of them. The cathedral was packed. There wasn’t a person who knew Mason who didn’t come from far and wide to be there.


I still share a laugh with him now and then. When an inside joke between the two of us pops up, I actually look around for him, wanting to share that knowing smirk. I talk out loud to him all the time. I point out stories in the paper that I think might get him riled. I let him know when bands he likes are coming to town. Then I eventually realize there is no one there. And I stop laughing.

So now our too-big king-sized bed has become a desk, with mail, magazines and even a table fan, on Mason’s side – things that stay there from day to day, depending on if I need to change the sheets. I still hear him rattling around the house, typing on his computer, squeaking the upstairs floorboards, letting me know he’s there. For a while, his name even used to show up on my Facebook contact list, as having just signed off. I missed him every time. I used to think he was coming back to play Farmville, his favorite Facebook game.

I’ve been through most of the horrid paperwork and other unpleasantries of losing him, but there is still much more to go. Much more than I can face right now. I’m living alone in a 5-bedroom home that gets bigger and more lonely every day. People keep asking me if I’m going to move, when I’m going to move, where I’m going to move, what kind of job do I think I can get. These are all important questions, but not ones that I can answer right now. I couldn’t if I tried. I don’t want to.

I recently read a book by a famous psychiatrist, Kay Redfield Jamison, who lost her husband. She wrote that “there is a time between times,” the time between losing your spouse and the time when you feel you are ready, or need, to face reality. That time between times, when you’re just allowed to grieve, is so necessary. For the inconsolable sadness it contains, there is something comfortable about it. It’s a time when no one makes you feel embarrassed when you cry, no one expects you to be back to work, no one expects much of you. They just let you be. And it just makes things so much easier, when the weight of the world is temporarily off your shoulders, that you never want it to change. I’m still clinging to that time between times with all my might, because I can’t face a world without Mason by my side.


Sarah Magrino said...

Jane this is so well said. Searingly from the heart. You take all the "time between times" that you need. Love Sarah

Anonymous said...

Ah Jane, this is so beautifully written and so poignantly honest. Feel free to move at your own pace. Lots of Love, Annemarie

LauraFB said...

Jane, I haven't been on Linked In for a long time but today, I checked on impulse. I'm so glad I did. This is beautiful and brave and just like you.