I once heard a widow say that she only wanted to remember the good things about her late husband.
In the days and months following Rod’s death, I absolutely held to this same idea, carefully guarding my thoughts and words making sure they only included the good stuff. Remembering the bad or ugly (or just annoying) somehow seemed dishonoring to his memory.
See, I was putting him on a pedestal. In my memory and in my speech, he became a beacon of the best of humanity, a candidate for sainthood. An example we would all benefit from following, especially me. He was all of these things, but he was more than just these.
He had his faults, his idiosyncrasies and weaknesses. He didn’t advertise them, but we who knew him best knew he wasn’t perfect. He knew he didn’t deserve that pedestal. Well, at least not for long.
So I started to remember all the things.
He didn’t like to go shopping with me – grocery, shoe, craft … any of it – because I would inevitably (unintentionally) mess with his ducks (all of which were neatly in a row). He might have agreed to go with me to one place expecting to spend a reasonable amount of time, but my indecision there or my random requests to ‘stop here’ or ‘run in there real quick since we’re already out’ frustrated him! If he did come with me, he’d want to buy all the things I hadn’t budgeted for; I think he did this to deter me from asking him to come along. But, every once in a while, he’d sigh deeply or roll his eyes, set his ducks aside, and come along ... and behave himself.
He did things he did that irritated me, too, like not take out the trash. In my world, that was the husband’s job; not so in his world. Early on in our marriage, I wondered if I just got to it before him, robbing him of the opportunity to fulfill his responsibility. So I left it. My gentle (ok, maybe not always gentle) reminders made him dig in his heels and be more determined NOT to take it out. So the trash can got full. I put another trash bag next to the trash can and started throwing trash in it. And another one. And another. Days passed, and still he wouldn’t relent. After about a week, when there were more flies inside the house than outside, his stubbornness and pride had won. I was the one that relented, mostly because I couldn’t stand the alternative. From then on I became the designated trash-taker-outer in our household.
Upon reflection I thought it odd that I hadn’t allowed myself to remember these things, that it seemed wrong to think about anything bad or ugly, anything other than the good memories.
Over time, I realized that I needed to remember all of it – the bad and the ugly, right along with the good. It took learning from all of it for him to grow as a person. It took going through all of it to forge our marriage into the amazing relationship that it was. It took living through all of it for him to become the dad he ultimately became.
So do I want to remember the good? Of course I do. But that’s just part of the story about who Rod was. He was a good person who has left an amazing legacy, but he was still a human being.
And he was my human being. And I miss all of him. Especially the good parts.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
Got a blog in you?
Click the button below (affiliate link) to meet ...
Click the QR Code below to take the DYT / Energy Profiling Quiz!