Yesterday, I took off my wedding ring. It was time. No clap of thunder occasioned the event. No comments from a passersby. No external reaction at all. A quiet emptiness filled the ache in my heart. I was prompted to take off the ring by my own deed. I read a part of my blog, Sound the Alarm, “…my late husband, Paul…”and realized that I no longer had the identity of wife. After two and half years, I lightly hold the title of widow. I am not one half of a couple, part of a whole, flesh of one flesh. I am singularly alone.
Today, after receiving a replacement charger cable from eBay, I managed to play the last tape in our video cam. The film started as a close up of Poindexter, the dog, sleeping on the couch. Zoom in. Zoom out. In the background, Paul spoke, “Dex. Cute dog. Dex.”
I found myself holding my breath. The scene stopped. Next in the film, I was walking outside with the camera in an unsuccessful attempt to film the dog. The scene switched to me playing with the water hose and Dex. Paul filmed me and stopped.
The next bit started with Vlad hanging a wire creation of a dragon. He made it with his hands.
“What are you going to name the dragon?” I said that. I held the camera.
“Bob,” sounded Paul’s voice in the background.
More video of Vlad, then a glimpse of Dan, Jennifer, Oscar, Brandy. I am leaning against the hospital bed that was provided by hospice. Paul rolls into the room, seated in his wheelchair, and leans forward to see the green-wire artwork hanging from the living room ceiling. It’s not the Paul in my head. Not the Paul that comes to me in my dreams. It’s reality Paul—in the last fourteen days of his life. I stopped the video.
Tomorrow I get up, go to work, and pretend, as I do every week.
If you are one half of a whole that is gone from your today, then you understand that tomorrow is a fragment of yesterday. A ring, a video, or a piece of art, can trigger what is left of internal reaction in your heart.