May 7, 2018

Our house

I came back from the beach and walked into our house, feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it all. Anyone who knows us knows that my house is furnished in Early American Theatrical Prop and everywhere I turned was a reminder of a theatrical project that Tommy and I had been involved with over the last fifteen years or so.

So I’m back from the beach and starting in on all of those unenviable tasks that must be done when someone dies unexpectedly. I’ve made the business rounds and now I’m looking around this house that we bought together, only two years ago, intending to drive each other mildly batty in it for a few decades while we kept up our crazy life of medicine, music, theater, wigs and civic engagement. Now I have to decide what fits my possible futures, what does not and where to rehome those things that have value but which won’t fit into any of my forseeable paths.

Having been through this before, the hardest thing about widowhood is losing the keeper of shared memory. There are very few objects in this house that don’t have a story to tell and the only other person who knew those stories is gone. This has all been so sudden a change in my life that it all still feels very unreal. I found myself making mental notes at the beach about the things I needed to tell Tommy when I got back and then remembered and had to tell him silently then and there.

Many of you did not know me before Tommy. I was a very different person in my 20s and 30s when I was with Steve and after he died, I felt lost and could not imagine life having much meaning. Tommy found me and, when I thought it was not possible, he taught my soul to sing.

I continue to do OK. The grief bombs continue to explode at inopportune moments but my sleeping patterns are better and my appetite has improved a bit. I will be at home this week, and then heading for Seattle sometime after Friday and will be back in Birmingham by the first of June.

I don’t have a lot of needs at the moment. Mainly company. I eat better with other people around. Text or call me if you want to hang out at all this week.

People took me up on that last one. I think I had dinner with someone every night before I left on the first of my road trips. I had decided that I was going to get out of town for a while but I still had a few business things that had to be taken care of before I left.

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