My Pastor says often that it’s ok to talk to yourself. The problems come afterwards when you start answering back.
Being a widow for quite a few years now, I’ve often contemplated that statement. So, when the occasions would arise where I’m encouraged to start that conversation I quietly remind myself to “SHUT UP”.
A female acquaintance recently passed away of cancer during the month of June 2018 and I found myself unable to do any more towards her family than just quietly acknowledge the situation. She was not a member of our Church at that time, however her husband was an active member. Our Church family was aware of her condition, praying for her daily but not really invited (as far as I knew) into sharing a more functional role in her day-to-day struggles or assisting in supportive activities.
Functioning in ministry within the Church, I’ve been a witness to more funerals than I care to mentally revisit. Each one renews memories of my late husband’s funeral in 2009. Since my husbands’ death I’ve tried very hard to live for now and not focus on the inevitable conclusion of life facing me at “the end of the 4th quarter” (my own personal metaphor for death). I know eventually, my number will be up but I intend to NOT dwell on it. But somehow, her death started me to wonder: what were her thoughts as she battled through this illness and whether or not she and her husband had sought out a support group? Were they facing this situation, alone? They were a VERY private couple and a part of my generation. At one time they were very social with me, my husband and another couple in the Church. After my husband’s death they drifted away out of relationship with me… The Widow.
Why does that always seem to happen? The funeral director warned me that I would get through the funeral with no problems, but the first time I had to return to that empty house alone… and face the lack of outside interaction through phone calls – which quickly stopped materializing – would require a super-human, God-inspired boost of strength to not fall into depression and pull away from life.
He was soooo right!
What really strengthened me in my spirit happened five years later or so, as I crossed paths with some of the people who ditched me when I really needed them. They actually came back and apologized for not keeping in touch. Imagine that? When I first heard of her situation I reached out, but she wouldn’t take my calls. After a while, I got the hint and stop trying. It makes you so very conscience of the frailties of so called friendships and how they require a lot more work than most people want to put into them. Blessed are you who have active, current friendships and timeless relationships with people from your youth.
During my husband’s funeral, I remember her husband spoke on what he remembered most about my husband… you know…. during the “REMARKS” section of the funeral service. I was expecting some real insight into my husband’s character that may have been shared among the homeboys, that I may have missed. Unfortunately, it was not to be. He went on a rant for a couple minutes commenting on how my husband could “tear up the floor” dancing.
I thought to myself: What? Do you people even know him, or NOT? I think not.
Now, I ask myself did I know her well enough to speak a kind word or two at her funeral, if allowed to?
To be honest with myself, no.
During her funeral service, it was revealed that “line dancing” was one of their passions. Both her and her husband belonged to a line dancing social group. I guess that was an item that our men had in common, so I can’t judge him on what I didn’t know. He focused and spoke on what he had knowledge of.
My BAD. No judgement zone. Nothing but love for you, my brother.
Your loss, generated so many memories of things I miss most about my loss:
- Watching my late husband attempt to cook a meal.
- His delight in attempting to introduce me to new flavors and textures of food from his childhood that didn’t necessarily flow into mine. (i.e. White Spaghetti, White Rice w/no butter, etc.)
- How he was an expert mechanic, but gave me heart palpitations when trying to fix anything else.
- How he endured my cold feet in bed and would wrap himself around me to warm me up on those cold winter nights.
- How he made me the official navigator on every car trip we ever took, because he loved driving so much.
- How he shared with me his fears and shortcomings as the reluctant church Elder in private, but had such a loving, caring servant’s heart in public.
I remember the first time he attempted the following dish during our courtship season and although the wording is fiction, the emotion is genuine.
Observations on the first time my husband cooked white spaghetti for us for dinner.
He takes me by the hand and leads me to a seat at the kitchen table. I’m curious and excited at the same time. My expectations heightened, I can feel the rising heat from my body lulling my senses. Is this actually going to happen? Is this man about to express himself in preparing a meal for the both of us? I can hardly sit still with anticipation! Lord help me to keep my mouth shut and accept the blessing that is about to be revealed. I don’t want to risk interrupting this miracle in action. No words, to incite a riot, no rash movements to show that I don’t have faith in the cooking skills of this marvelous human being. No taking over the kitchen and demonstrating how it should be done, and for once in quite a long time, it is not about meat on a grill (which is another whole story!).
I see the pot on the stove, with the front burner turned up, full blast and half filled with water. But, there is nothing else on the counter tops. Boiling water could mean many things: hot dogs, boiled eggs, potatoes to mash. Maybe even lobster! Who am I kidding? Scratch the lobster.
The refrigerator door opens and he takes out a box of opened spaghetti. Into the pot of boiling water, it goes. My mind races. Do I interrupt to say: “Shouldn’t you be preparing the sauce first before cooking the spaghetti? You always start with the items that take the longest to cook.” I catch myself before letting those words leave my mouth. Once words are spoken, you can’t take them back. I don’t feel like arguing the consequences of my actions today. I am totally in your hands.
Ten al dente minutes later the pasta pot is turned off, water drained, pasta re-rinsed and left on the stove in the pot. As I’m watching, he salts and peppers the spaghetti and throws a stick of butter in the pot and starts stirring it till the butter melts.
TA-DA, it’s done!
I think he must have been amused by the look on my face which said it all.
“Try it, you’ll like it.” He says.
And to this day, I still on occasion will prepare it like that!
If you would like to try another of our favorite pasta recipes (this one a tad more complex…), please try this one: Spaghetti with Shrimp & Broccoli.