CW: grief, confusion, anger, you know, all that stuff that comes with death of a spouse and being a widow.
Sometimes I wonder… who were you? What were you struggling with that I didn’t even know about? Because the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to do an hour a day on cleaning out the boxes in the shed. A lot of it are your boxes, although some are Barbara’s and my dad’s. I’ve thrown out three boxes full of cords. Not anything useful, that I know of … mostly old Cat5 VGA, old printer cables for printers that probably died The True Death about the same time we got married, even some of those old USB… is it USB A? The square ones? Good lord.
I’ve burned boxes of old bills. I like that you sorted your bills by year, and mostly only put bills in the boxes you marked as “bills” (with the random birthday card sometimes… I kept the birthday cards). I bought a shredder right after you died, but someone convinced me it would be easier to burn than to shred… I’m not so sure about that. The smoke isn’t good for my asthma, and it takes a fucking long time for papers folded tightly that long to even do anything but smoke.
And then I’ve gone through at least four boxes of stuff that you never even got to filing. Some of it is useful – the paperwork on buying this property, for instance. But some of it…? This is what I’m struggling with. So many “you’re in danger of having your home insurance cancelled” letters. At least three; one in 2014, two in 2018. What was going on? Why didn’t you talk to me about it? Was it you just forgetting to pay the bills because you were busy? I know how to write a check, you could have asked me to do all that with our joint account. Were we having money problems you didn’t talk to me about?
But probably the worst thing I’ve found is the paperwork from that bout of diverticulitis you had the April before you got sick. The paperwork talked about the results of your CT scan (something I became intimately acquainted with those three months you were in the hospital). They talked about an enlarged appendix, which might have had to do with the diverticulitis, but might not have, and they recommended you contact your Primary Care Physician about that. And then, that you had four or five small lesions on your liver, that might be pre-cancerous, and that you should talk to your PCP about getting a biopsy.
You don’t – didn’t – even have a Primary Care Physician.
You never told me about that part. Not the not having a PCP part, I knew that. But you neglected to tell me, your WIFE, your LIFE PARTNER, about lesions on your liver? I was with you – I drove you to and from the hospital, stayed with you (albeit in the waiting room, because Covid) – and you didn’t mention it? Part of me wants to rage and slap you upside your head. How could you keep that from me? Part of me wants to know if you were afraid. If I could have helped you with that fear. Did you think I couldn’t, and that’s why you didn’t tell me? Did you think I couldn’t handle it? Or was it you who couldn’t handle it? Were you afraid and just pushed it out of your mind?
And don’t think that didn’t put me down a rabbit hole for a couple of days, by the way… wondering if either of those things could be tied to your endocarditis. It can’t be, the timing is way too off – but don’t think I didn’t chew on that for a couple of days.
Today I found a box of your old cassette tapes.
What an eclectic taste in music. You occasionally even listened to music, although not the cassettes. CDs, by the time I met you. Yet if I sang in the car you’d reach over and turn the music off. Why?
Who were you? Who was I married to? Why didn’t you …. I don’t even know. Talk to me more? Lean on me? Rely on me? Confide in me? Was I a bad wife? Was I not what you wanted? Was marriage harder than you thought it would be? Or not what you thought it would be?
Oh, Tim. So many questions I’ll never get the answer to. So many things I wish we’d been able to talk about – not just when you were dying, but throughout our marriage. If you were going through things…. I was your partner. I wish you’d talked to me.