In my spare time, I have been reading and I even watched one movie with my lovely family. In the evening, I read books that have no professional benefit whatsoever.
I just finished The Hot Seat: Love, War and Cable News, by Piers Morgan,
In his first TV interview he asked Oprah Winfrey how many people she trusts and she answered,
Probably five or six that I ultimately would trust no matter what, and if I were to be betrayed by those people, then I would say I don’t know anything. There’s a wonderful line in a Toni Morrison book that says, ‘It stripped me of everything I knew.’ ”
That line came back to me again when I was reading a book tonight, Knocking on Heaven's Door, by a woman dealing with both of her parents dying.
My husband died when I was 36 years old. It stripped me of everything I knew. We were going to have another baby after Ronnie, who was 3 years old, when he had his accident. My whole life seemed to be in three pieces. Before the accident. After the accident. After he died.
We were going to have four children and live out in the country. He was getting his pilot's license. He said flying was even better than sex because you could do it for hours. I was going to get tenure at the university, become a full professor and then retire. The kids would grow up picking wild blackberries and learn to ride horses. Ron was going to teach them to drive a stick-shift and shoot a gun and I was going to teach them math and not to have a country accent, that words like huntin', fishin' and darlin' actually have a 'g' at the end and it's pronounced "business" not "bizness". We used to laugh about that a lot.
Then he went down that hill and broke his back and then he died, piece by piece over the years until he died altogether.
It stripped me of everything I knew.
I have a good friend who lost his wife when he was relatively young and had young children at home. Let's call him Bob. We talk about it sometimes and agree that there is no question that it changes you. People who have not been in that situation can sympathize but they can't really understand.
I've read studies that say that whether people win the lottery or become paraplegic as a result of an accident that within the year they are just as happy as they were before the event. Maybe so. I know both my friend and I have gone on to live productive, generally happy lives. Still, it changes you.
This was brought home to me recently when some random people I did not know were saying vicious things about me on the Internet. An acquaintance came up to me and politely expressed sympathy, made some nice comments intended to cheer me up.
Seriously, it was a kind, well-meant gesture and I appreciated it, but after he walked away, Bob and I doubled over laughing. We had seen tragedy and BasementBoy007 saying on a forum that you should shut the fuck up you grey-haired old lady is definitely not a tragedy.
They (whoever "they" are) say everything happens for a reason. Both Bob and I dispute that being widowed (widowered?) made us better people, but there is no question it changed us.
If you had asked me two years after Ron died, I would not have hesitated and said there is no compensation and nothing would change my mind about wanting him back.
Now, I have a wonderful 17-year-old daughter who I would not have had if my husband had lived, if I hadn't remarried. Would I turn back the clock? I think of her and the answer is clearly, "No."
One thing I can say for sure - if you experience the death of someone close to you, it changes you. Things may get better. I suppose it's possible they may get worse. One thing I know for sure is that they will never be the same. You will never be the same.