Logged on here to discover it has been 8 months since my last post. The intervening time is for another day. Today is about taking on a new title.
We all have titles. It starts at birth. Our first child is “baby”, or maybe “son” or “daughter”. We put that title away in exchange for “toddler”, then “child”, then the dreaded “teenager”. During the “child” and “teenager” terms, we learn we can add extra titles. “Student”, “Band Member”, “Cheerleader”, “Football Player”: all are titles we can wear in conjunction with another. When we put on the coveted (although no one knows why) title of “adult”, we discover we can wear as many titles as we choose! “Wife”, “Husband”, “Girlfriend”, “Boyfriend”, “Mom”, “Dad”, “Employee”, “College Student”, – the list is endless. As we walk the road of life, the titles we wear have an impact on the journey. A married person has a different journey than a single person, just like a single parent has a different journey than a single person with no children. Those comparisons are endless as well. Religion, lifestyle, and simply one’s individual personality can add even more titles, all of which combine to create the person each one of us is. The thing about titles that many of us forget is that even when we no longer proudly proclaim the title, what we learned while we did is part of the title we wear today, right now. Just because one is no longer in elementary school, the things learned there will impact every other title that person takes on in life. Life experiences make up life itself, and memories of past experiences influence current life events, as well as future life decisions.
Well, I’ve worn a lot of titles. “Baby”, “Toddler”, “Child”, “Teenager”, “Teenager who lost a parent”, “Sailor”, “Girlfriend”, “Wife”, “Mother”, “Student”, “College Student”, “Office Manager”, “Consultant”, just to name a few. After all, one can collect a lot of titles in 52 years. But on February 25, 2016, I added a new title – “Widow”. After 31 1/2 years of marriage, I am now a widow. I’m still a college student, mother, grandmother, friend, woman, veteran, and all the other titles that apply, but I am also a widow. My husband died at home on that Thursday, swiftly and with no warning. I posted elsewhere that my life was put in a blender. As I sit here typing this morning, I think of one week ago, when I was getting dressed and ready to celebrate his life, our life, and lay him to his eternal rest. Last Saturday, the tears were of a bewildered, confused, lost woman who could not fathom life without the one who had been there through it all – our children, our grandchildren, the days we simply took each other’s presence for granted, the days we celebrated, the good days, the bad days, the days that simply were. Today, the tears are different. The tears are for what you will miss. My graduation in just two months. You were buried on your beloved granddaughter’s 2nd birthday. The grandson you loved so much turned 5 yesterday. All the rest of their birthday’s they will spend without Granpoo. Your youngest son will graduate from college with your memory, but not you. Your oldest son, who was not biologically yours but who you claimed from day one, lies in a hospital recovering from a very serious illness. His handicap means none of us know what he understands, but what I understand is this is the first medical issue with him I have had to face alone. I’ve always had you there, to hold me when I cry, to help me when it gets the bleakest, and now I face this alone. However, I cannot cry for you.You are no longer in pain. You can walk, run, dance, and rejoice that the pains and restrictions your medical conditions placed on you are gone. The face I saw when I looked in that casket was the face of the man I married. No pain, just peace. One could almost sense the wicked sense of humor I know so well. But all the pain was gone, and as someone who loved you for nearly 32 years, that makes me happy. I cry for me, because after nearly 32 years I am lost without you. I cry because I can’t add you to my RSVP for the All-USA luncheon on the 22nd like I had planned. I cry because it is what people do. But I don’t cry often, because we talked about this. We both knew that chances were that I would have to carry on without you, and we discussed that many times. Four years ago today, we both cried as we checked you in at the nursing home, and on that day I thought that you would never again come home. 75 days later, you proved everyone wrong, and then I was gifted with nearly four more years. You never knew that I cried every single day driving home from the nursing home. Every. Single. Day. Because I was afraid that the call would come, and that my fears would be reality. February 25, 2016, that call came.
Titles. I can say with complete honesty that I wear my new title proudly. Who would not be proud of having been married to a man for 31 years and 5 months that took a scared young girl with a special needs son, and made a family? I gave that statement to the preacher, and he used it in your funeral service, and it gave me comfort and pride. I am proud of the fact that you chose me to share your life with, and whatever other titles I gain in the coming years, the titles I have been able to claim because of you – “Wife”, “Mother”, “Grandmother”, “Caregiver”, and, yes, “Widow”, are the ones I am the most proud of. I was blessed to be able to share my adult life to this point with you. This was something you never considered sharing with anyone else, and I am honored. I hope you knew that.I will go forward because you knew I would. No matter what I do, where I go, or what life throws at me, I can always say that I was the only person who was ever Mrs. Richard Mark Hudson. Rest in eternal peace, my love.
Richard Mark Hudson: July 1, 1959 – February 25, 2016