Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Today Is Really All We Have
I hope my husband, wherever he is, can read this. Honey, you were right. I shouldn't have complained so much. Huge irritations at the time, like a neighbor's yapping dog or a friend's obnoxious girlfriend, seem so darn trivial now.
Why did I get so pissed off, so often? Too much stress, perhaps. I was a small-town newspaper editor, for Pete's sake. It's a wonder I never went totally postal, especially after my 23rd annual Cub Scout pancake feed. There's so many other ways I'd rather spend a Saturday morning. Sleeping, for instance.
Am I a "Type A" personality, maybe? Is it my headstrong astrological sign, Taurus the bull? Since I had two red-headed grandmothers, is it like, a genetic thing? The Irish in me?
Who knows why we all do what we do, or act like we act. Every unpleasant personality trait I possess can probably be easily blamed on my mother. I mean, everything that’s wrong with everybody is always their mother’s fault, isn’t it?
Actually I lived with my husband far longer than I did with my mother. We'd been married for 38 years, were just going along, and then one day, "poof!" He was gone. It's been six months now and I can still hardly get my mind around it.
Oh, it’s sunk in, all right. He's gone forever. I get that part. It's my future without him that I'm having trouble envisioning. I can’t see the road ahead anymore.
I feel like an old draft horse that’s lost its reliable pulling partner of many years. I still feel double-yoked, but I'm simply going in circles, pulling blindly, wondering where in the hell I’m headed.
I feel so lost and get so tired without my sturdy partner beside me. He was the leader, the biggest horse, the strongest one. It's his steadying presence that I miss the most. It calmed me.
If God's got the reins, I'll be okay, I try to remember. But my life is as unfamiliar to me now as if I had followed a bright blue light into a spaceship and been whisked off to another galaxy. Nothing is the same as it was last year at this time. Nothing.
Like a lot of couples, we'd planned for our retirement for years. We were almost there. But I tell you: Don't do that so much. Don’t pin all your hopes on your future. Live in the moment and try to enjoy it. It is true that the present is all we really have.
However, I can’t stand to hear someone say, "Live each day like it's your last." Are you kidding? It’s my last day? That makes me want to run right down to the bar, start pounding down Jack Daniels shots, puffing on Marlboros and looking for a biker to take me for a ride on a fast Harley. Hey, "to each his own," applies to bucket lists, too.
Better wording comes to mind. I think it's from the Bible. "This is the day that the Lord has made," it goes, "Rejoice and be glad in it."
Right. Currently it's three degrees above zero and pitch-dark here already at 4:30 p.m. My feet are cold because my dogs have all deserted me for warmer places than under my desk.
But I'm not going to say, "Boy, I hate winter; I can't wait 'til spring." I've already wished enough of my life away.
So I guess I’ll go sit by the fire, enjoy the heat and see if I can’t find me a warm and willing dog belly to scratch.