At the hospital the staff let me stay alone with my husband for 20 minutes after he passed. I hadn’t left his side for more than two hours in the last three weeks. A wonderful angle of a neighbor stepped in to help care for my kids: 11 and 14. Our minister was there and my father and family came two days before he died. But when I was alone with him after he passed I had no idea what I should do. I took his wedding ring off his finger and took mine off and placed them both on a gold chain hanging around my neck. I then just collapsed onto his body and cried telling him how much I and his children loved him.
Three years later at what would have been our 21st wedding anniversary it’s still there our rings around my neck. I know I should have moved on and taken off this pathetic plea for attention. Yet somehow the rings had become a token of comfort, something tangible that I can grasp at various points during the day when I wanted him at my side.
Our daughter and son brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and wrote a touching card in honor of the day.
My daughter told me she picked out each flower for the bouquet, certainly her perfectionist father would have done the same. They are so much alike. The flowers are beautiful just like my children.
I remember two weeks after my husband died I went to a widowers grievance support group at Greenwich Hospital. A widow in his 70’s said the pain of his wife’s death four years ago hadn’t eased. In fact, he wanted to join her. I didn’t return to the support group.
I have my husband’s personality, charm, temper and eyes in both my children for which I am blessed. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘get over’ and ‘move on’ after your soul mate dies. Those who seem to grieve long after the acceptable time are still in pain and may not want to ‘move on’. There is no acceptable time limit for sorrow.
Widowed? Divorced? Never Married? Bad Marriage?
Maybe you haven’t been ‘in love’ since your first love. Maybe you’ve fallen out of love. Maybe there’s no desire to have sex. Or maybe you’ve just given up.
Is it possible to fall in love with someone after a certain age? I’m not talking about falling in lust or falling in love with the idea of being cared.
Is it possible to sexually desire someone? To feel overjoyed at a phone call? To look forward to being with someone? To feel an attraction so strong that you actually daydream about being with him or her and can’t stop thinking about him? I’m talking about the whole deal: to want to be with someone because it feels so right and exciting at the same time.
And what about all the baggage we’ve accumulated over the years? Let’s face it none of us look like we were in our teens or even forties. And even if you’ve had tons of plastic surgery, great dermatological procedures, daily workouts and diligent dieting, the experiences you’ve gone through, can’t be eliminated with a little Botox..
Can love exist for people who’ve gone through heartbreak and lost? Or is love only reserved for the young, the beautiful, the affluent?
I have little tolerance for bullshit. I want to edit through an individual and get to his core. Maybe it’s because my biological clock is ticking, not for a baby but for the possibility of enjoying the next thirty plus years of my life (hopefully) in love.
Maybe the answer to true love is a website away or maybe it’s a pipe dream and loneliness is better since at least it’s real and not a delusion.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
I’m not sure why peonies are my favorite flower. Maybe it’s that I grew up with floral arrangements of roses, carnations and baby’s breath so when I first saw what I thought were roses on steroids, I was astonished. But more likely it’s because l knew my Chinese mother-in-law loved them.
I brought a bouquet of white lilies to my first mother’s day as a newly married daughter-in-law. She didn’t seem pleased when I gave them to her, yet she was still gracious. I don’t think the arrangement ever made it to a vase. Later that evening, my husband told me white lilies in the Chinese tradition were considered funeral flowers to be displayed by a casket. My husband gently suggested we bring peonies next time. He said they were her favorite flower.
Eighteen years later my husband died in the winter. I wanted to bring them to his memorial service but it was February and I couldn’t find a florist that had them. That spring, I planted peonies throughout my yard. They only bloom for a short period of time. They are perhaps the most ephemeral flowers I know, but I remember my mother-in-law saying that she looked forward to them blooming in her family’s courtyard in Shanghai every spring. And I remember my husband bringing them home every June and handing them to me with a huge smile on his face.
Maybe it’s ironic or just coincidental but my daughter’s favorite flowers are peonies. The other day she walked through the door with a beautiful smile carrying two huge bouquets of peonies. Today our house is full of peonies and the sweet remembrance of my mother-in-law and my husband and the ever-present love of my beautiful daughter in whom I see traces of my husband and her grandmother everyday. Yes, life and love are short and ephemeral like peonies, so when in bloom appreciate.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.