Yesterday I Was a Wife
Yesterday I was a wife. Today I am a widow. Yesterday I had a life. Today I do not know what I have, where I am, or who I am. I do normal stuff. I do not cry. I get up and behave quiet as I always do. I wash, dress, make our bed, it is less disturbed than usual. The pillows on my side bear the imprint of my head but the other pillows are fat and plump.
Down stairs I boil the kettle, take down two cups and put the teabags into them – make the tea and bring it to the table. I sit in my chair and stare. I stare at the nothingness before me. My neighbour calls in and sits in the empty chair. He called in last week and discussed his new purchase with my husband Tony, a new vehicle. My husband wished him well with it. A customer of mine poked her head into the kitchen “are you measuring him up Tommy” – the two men laugh, I laugh, Josephine laughs. Tommy is an undertaker, its his job and he does it well.
My Neighbour Has Tears
How could any of us have known that Tony and Tommy would journey together in the new black hearse, one in the front, one in the back. My neighbour has tears in his eyes. Like all good neighbours he is here to make my life easy today. He drinks the tea I made for my husband. Habits of twenty five years are not going to stop in sixteen hours, the first of my widow-hood. My daughter, young and pretty, joins us in the kitchen. She will go to Dublin with Tommy to bring her Dad home to us. She will pick clothes to dress him for the journey and a coffin to shield his lifeless body from the curious. This slip of a girl on the edge of womanhood takes on the adult role as I exist in numbness.
People gather, a small army of helpers, clean, polish, make ready. Comfort, cook, comfort. Fill our home with flowers and food. First women I greet at my front door are widows – I see them through widows eyes – they know how I will feel when the numbness wears off. I thankfully do not.
Written by forum member, Bernie.