I'm sorry to be so late posting. Things have been a tad frazzled.
Monday, December 30, I became a widow. I already don’t like it, although it’s a role I’ve been interning for these last two and half years. I have known and loved George for nearly fifty years. I remember my mother's saying after my father was killed that she would never make love again. I now know what she meant.
At some point I will come apart and the seams, but not yet. At this point I am in logistical mode. The logistics surrounding death have become so complicated that I’ve been too busy go grieve. Since George retired from the Army, I am bound and determined to give him a military sendoff. Gracious! Since I worked for the military myself, I know how they like their forms, but you’d think I was trying to put one over on them. He is eligible to be buried at Arlington in Washington. Thank heaven I didn’t try for that. They’re backed up for over two years.
And then, the cemetery allots exactly fifteen minutes for each service, and they don’t mess around with calling time. Not only that, but it would seem so many veterans, young and old, are dying that the facility is booked up until the end of next week.
But we will have the piper. He’s playing Amazing Grace. I’d prefer MacDonald’s lament, but it’s too long. When they play taps and hand me the folded flag, I expect to dissolve in a puddle on the floor. I’m definitely wearing my sunglasses. I wish I could wear one of those widow’s veils that they wear in France and England. I just hope I can keep my mouth shut. George would be highly embarrassed if I started to howl.
We were married forty-seven years ago in October. That’s a long time to share memories. Now, I have no one left who remembers what I remember. If you do it right, your children grow up into lives and go to partners of their own. Old friends have families of their own, and move in and out of your life. People die. But I always knew George loved me, and I hope he knew I loved him. We fought, of course, and went through some really bad stuff, but the point is, we got through it and back to one another.
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye’s wife Golde says, “Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?”
I was privileged to share the bed and love of an intelligent, funny, honorable man who loved me and who did the best he could so long as he could. That’s not a bad epitaph.