By Elaine Marze
People frequently share with me the things they miss most after the death of their spouse, especially after they read WIDOWHOOD: I DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS (which I wrote). I like to share these things because it reminds those with living husbands and wives what they should appreciate while they still can because sometimes we take our loved ones for granted.
Bill in Keithville told me he misses mornings on the back porch with his wife. He says that’s when they planned their day and discussed family and community issues. “Since she died, morning coffee is the loneliest thing I do.”
Jim in Arkansas said he had business in Harrison one day after his wife died, and decided to drive on up to Branson, MO to see a show like he and his late wife used to do. “It just wasn’t the same, me sitting there alone. There were all these couples together, and I was by myself. I won’t be doing that again.”
“I miss Cliff the most when I’m in a big group of people, I always knew that he would be looking just for me – that I was the most important person in that room to him. Oddly enough, I feel more alone in a large group of people than when I am home by myself,” Debra Merritt in Shreveport shared.
“The thing I miss most about Donnie is his touch,” said Vickie Baughman of Shreveport.
Linda Miller of Tyler, Texas said she misses her husband’s hugs the most. “It’s all I can do not to wrap myself around any man who hugs me and just cling to him! I wish I could just feel that security again instead of always feeling so alone.”
I can relate to all these things as many others do. My husband and I were very interested and active in politics, and not having him to discuss the news and events of everyday leaves a void in my life. What couple doesn’t need each other to relate problems or joys regarding their family and friends? Your spouse is usually your best friend, the person with whom you share your plans, fears, laughter, sadness, and troubles, but once he or she is gone, you find yourself carrying on conservations with an empty chair or pillow!
As Vickie and Linda mentioned, “touch” can be amazingly comforting, perhaps especially for a woman. When car or plumbing problems arise, or the kids lose their minds, or a neighbor goes off on you, it’s nice to have strong arms to wrap around you. It’s nice to have a man carry part or most of the load, but once he’s gone a woman is facing issues and problems she’s never had to do before — alone. Like Linda, I think most widows or divorced women have wanted a few seconds or minutes to be held by a friend or relative so she can remember the feelings of safety and support she once had.
As Debra and Jim shared, it truly is a couple’s world. One is a lonely number. At shows, concerts, on vacations, etc there are couples, couples, everywhere, hugging, holding hands and sharing the experience. And, then there are the “onlies” who attend events alone or with a friend who is also wishing he or she was part of a couple. Some people would like to think this is just a woman thing, emotional and hormonal, but nope, men do not like to go to a restaurant or party alone anymore than a woman does.
When the bond of a deeply committed couple is dissolved through no fault of their own, there is a tsunami of feelings and issues involved and unresolved. Don’t waste your married life fussing and feuding over unimportant things; appreciate the time you have together because it could end tomorrow.