As pretty much everyone who has ever lost anyone they cared about knows, the first year after someone’s death, you find yourself playing the mind game of ‘a year ago, we were…’
And so, as we observe The Glorious Fourth, I’m thinking back to last year’s July 4, when my husband Jim and I were in New York City.
It was something of a last minute decision, on the week off between chemo rounds, when we were just finishing up what turned out to be the failed Chemo One try.
At that point, we were well aware that Jim’s cancer was “treatable, but not curable,” but we were still small-o optimistic that he would fall into the category of those who win a remission. And we were even smaller-o optimistic that Jim would be one of those for whom cancer becomes a chronic disease, with metastasis held at bay.
Anyway, since New York City was Jim’s favorite place on earth – and one of mine, too – we decided to spend the first week in July there.
The weather was ghastly – miserably hot and humid – and Jim was plenty tired, but we managed to take interesting, small-ish walks each day, try some new restaurants, visit some oldies but goodies.
It was a wonderful trip, and I could almost (but not quite) forget for a New York minute or two just what we were going through.
Fast forward a year, and what I wouldn’t give to be sitting here – New York, Boston, anywhere – with Jim at my side.
If we were in Boston, we’d have The Pops on TV, and be watching the fireworks out the living room window.
If we were in NYC, we’d be strolling around, talking about how the fireworks in Boston are better.
Nearly four months into it, I have to say that there’s not a whole hell of lot that’s on the positive side about being a widow.
So far, I can come up with more closet space, less trash, and the ability to order spaghetti with white clam sauce or duck or something else Jim didn’t like – dishes I wouldn’t have ordered so that we could go half-sies on our dinners out.
It’s not as if I’m sitting around all day in my bathrobe, weeping and cursing the gods. But the fact is that, there’s plenty of time when it’s just plain sad. (Make that I’m just plain sad.)
Today, I’ll be in Salem, watching the fireworks with my sister and her family: laughing, eating, toasting the day.
I’ll be bringing a blueberry pie.
As I generally do, I’ll start the day by reading the Declaration of Independence.
Despite my father’s annual Fourth of July pronouncement that, “after this, summer’s all downhill,” I’ve always loved The Glorious Fourth. And I still do.
Still, without my buddy around, it’s not going to be quite as glorious as it could be.