Monday, October 23, 2017
Because I can...
When a husband dies, people express their condolences in an attempt to comfort the grieving widow. In turn, the widow gets through one day at a time and mourns for the part of her that no longer exists. In some cases, it takes years for the widow to come to terms with her loss and get back to the business of living a full and productive life.
Alcoholics remain on this earth, but die in the mind and heart of the spouse far before they take their last breath. When the death occurs, the grieving process has already started and/or often times it has been completed. It may seem that the spouse is cold-hearted or unfeeling that her/his partner is now gone, but the truth is that the process can sometimes be reaching its end before the actual death occurs.
That seems to be the case in my adjustment from being a wife to a widow. Years ago I accepted the fact that my husband had left me in favor of his mistress – Ms Aristocrat Vodka – or Ms Vodie as I call her. His alliance to her left me without a real husband and left my kids without a real father.
While Ms Vodie held Riley’s heart, he was never monogamous and seemed to take pride in the fact that he could bed down almost any woman in sight. My husband left me and the family way back in the late 1980s although his date of death was September 27, 2017.
Riley and I separated, but did not divorce, early in 1989. I grieved for the marriage that could have been. I cried from the loneliness of Sunday mornings without sharing the newspaper. I longed desperately for the intimate moments we had once shared. I treated every man with hostility because I somehow imagined them to be in some kind of elite womanizing cult. Every man who showed an interest in me was met with the presumption of them being liars, cheaters and jingaloes. I went through every stage of the grieving process. It was hell.
I came out of it just in time to be able to forgive Riley so that I could take him back into my home, which I had created without the assistance of a man, and take care of him as he withered away with Ms Vodie by his side. The last seven years have been another form of hell.
Riley is gone. I’m truly a widow. And I’m not grieving over the loss. Some of you may think of me as a cold-hearted, ruthless, witch and you may be right. Every night I listened to him tell me, “Linny, I love you” and sometimes “Linny, I care very much about you.” I never responded because those words meant nothing to me. I couldn’t bring myself to hold his hand, but could only manage to rub his shoulders. When he begged me to climb into the bed and hold him, I refused. This man in that bed was not my husband. My husband died years prior to Riley’s requests of affection.
Even though I felt I was attending to a man who was not my husband, I was not free. My entire life was centered on his nurses, aides, physical therapist, doctors, and other visitors schedules. When my daughter was able to come to sit with him, I was able to go to town for groceries and possibly run a few errands. Riley was a prisoner in his bed and I was a prisoner in the house.
September 27th, 2017, was the day I was released from my responsibilities dictated by our society, legal system, and my moral consciousness. I stood in the middle of the living room and I felt stunned. I was looked around as though I was trying to figure out what it was I was to do next. I honestly did not know what to do. So I did nothing except wander through the house. I couldn’t go into his room. It was too empty. Maybe I was missing him a little. Maybe the absence of him treating me like a servant left a hole in my day. I had become so accustomed to his demanding calls that when there was silence, it frightened me.
Riley disliked having me play music as I cleaned house or cooked his dinner. But Riley is not here, so I turned up the music and danced around the room. I sang at the top of my lungs even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I didn’t care. I wanted noise and I made a lot of it. It was glorious!
I made plans, just because I could. I went for drives in the country, because I could. I ate out at the restaurants that I had only heard about but never experienced because… because I COULD! And I DID!
My life has re-started and I’m enjoying it very much. I’m regaining my health, having my nails done, getting plenty of rest and I’m laughing. Do you know why? Because I can, that’s why.
If you are concerned about your what your drinking is doing to your loved ones, read this post again. This is what it means when your alcoholic husband dies and you are finally free again.
at 3:27 PM