On this day, 50 years ago, Silent Bob and I married.
On January 31, 2024, I will have been a widow for 4 years.
It’s funny the things I miss, the things I have learned in the last 4 years.
I have a surprisingly fuzzy memory about SB’s temper, for which he is legendary in some circles. It was a frustration for many of us. But the odd thing is that I find myself more often reminiscing about holding his hand. I wish I could do that one more time. SB had nice hands. Strong and warm. When I least expect it my mind will wander to a day when we had taken a walk around the creek by our house. Those woods were a haven for us, all of us, his sons and visitors alike, even my mother. A classic gulf coast watershed creek, the banks were steep dunes of fine sand that had built up over flash flood events. I had trouble scaling one particular bank, the sand giving way beneath my flip-flops. He’d managed the route better and reached his hand down and pulled me up. I remember thinking then as I grabbed it how warm his hands always were, the sureness of his hold as he helped a woman who he knew to be more independent than even she realized.
I barely recall his insistence to reread the never changing Popeye’s menu before he would make a choice, but weekly I think how much I loved hearing the TWACK of his driver on contact with the little white ball and what it was like to caddy for him. SB was who he was meant to be on the golf course. I liked everything about spending that time with him, hearing him logic through his course management strategies and well, yes, manage his temper. Hmmm.. well mostly… I remember the excitement he had for the game, the pure way he played it. I even liked watching him put his golf shoes on, checking the cleats as he leaned against his car. Golf was a passion for him. I am glad that is one of the last things he and I did.
I remember the first time, he and I in bed, as he wrapped his legs around mine, how different they felt. I had only slept with my mother when I was younger and her mostly shaved legs, slightly stubbled, were much different than a man’s. Young and with the world ahead of us, we were novices at selflessness, just learning what it meant to put another first. I remember each time with SB as our sons were born. He was proud to be the father to those three. But I also remember the difficult times we had before our family, two young people who were very different in backgrounds and expectations, who barely knew each other. I find myself with regret. I wish I had gotten wiser before he was gone. I would not have held him accountable for the stupid things we all do when we are young and learning to navigate a covenant relationship.
I miss having someone who after many years knew who I was and was okay with that or at least loved me enough to make that a true statement in their heart. I miss having someone to come home to. I miss SB bringing me my coffee on cold mornings and buying two of everything on my grocery list. I miss not being able to make up for some of the things I didn’t do right.
I am trying to say something to you. To anyone who loves someone and is trying to make a relationship work or is tired of trying. I don’t wish loss for you. But unfortunately, loss teaches you things. So learn from my loss.
Committed relationships are difficult. Full stop.
If you are just starting out, talk honestly about what each of you believe is important. Don’t judge when it’s your turn to listen. And listen, I mean like actually hear what they are saying. Don’t give up on the things that will make your bond stronger, but don’t hold on to hurts if an apology was truly given. If its not going to work, get out. But don’t think that there is someone perfect. Commitments are beautiful and they are worth it, but they aren’t guarantees. They are promises to be strong for each other in the good and the bad, and were never meant to provide idyllic companionship. There is no such thing.
If you’ve been together a medium amount of time, know this: your partner is as irritated with you as you are with them. They get as tired of some things about you as you do about them. Step back and take perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in a negative viewpoint. You will lose the truth of who that person is. Odds are, they have nice warm hands even if it drives you crazy that every time they go to Popeyes its choose your new adventure. You are the only one to balance your viewpoint. Do that consciously and continuously.
If you manage being together a long time, one of you is likely to be a caretaker of the other, or one will live without the other.
It’s almost 2024. Age doesn’t affect the necessity for relationship. We are hardwired for them. Find one if you don’t have one. Cherish every day starting now. Don’t spend a lot of time in what happened or what might happen. The hard work, the faith required, will always be worth investing your time and heart in loving someone. Weather the storms, pray a lot, find joy wherever it is, and I pray you are like me and count on something after this where love is everlasting.
Then when you get old like me, you will look back and think, despite it all, I was rich beyond measure, blessed in all the ways that matter.