There are moments that the seriousness and the certainty and the finality of our situation slam into my consciousness and I weep. The weeping only lasts for a moment, but I wonder what will happen after Marv’s gone. Will I weep oceans? He continually reminds me I’ll do fine. Well, big deal. What does he know? But, I must admit his confidence in me is comforting.
This past week, he finally taught me how to change the furnace filter—it had been on our bucket list, and I learned about the water softener. It’s there, it has a lid, and I’m supposed to scoop stuff from a fifty-pound bag into it every now and then. I don’t remember.
I don’t want to dwell on the things I must know to be a widow. I said so to a few widow friends. They laughed and said, “We can teach you those things, Lois. Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Comforting, for sure, but they don’t realize that at my stage, these household maintenance things are a big deal. It almost makes me want to move into an apartment with a round-the-clock maintenance staff. And just when I voice my fears about the house falling apart, a neighbor offers up her husband, “He’ll help you with everything, Lois. Just call. He loves to help.”
I’m reading Joan Chittister’s The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully for a new book club we’ve started at church. All of us are loving the book. We’re taking a third at a time and never finish because each person can relate to so many of the truisms she says about aging. Last night I was reading the chapter titled “Future.” A weird topic right now since my future is uncertain. But right off the opening sentence cheered me up. Chittister quoted Louis Kronenberger, “Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do one outrageous thing a week” (p. 139).
“There you have it,” as my older sister likes to say. Chittister reminds us that the future is just a state of mind. We can either go negative with it, or positive. But you sure get the feeling from her that life is now, and we should spend our time well, even dangerously. “Dangerously fun loving, dangerously honest. Dangerously involved. Dangerously alive (p. 161).
So, I will tell Marv tonight that we must do something outrageous, even dangerous!
But he’s already washed the cars and planted more flowers and worked on bedside tables he’s making for our grandson. And he has yet to make me dinner. He may say that’s all outrageous and dangerous enough for today.
And I will have to agree. Outrageously and dangerously thoughtful and loving for that little-girl part of me that’s a teeny bit afraid of becoming a widow.