It’s Saturday of the May long weekend and the weather is perfect for working outside. The sun is hot but there is a lovely breeze that is helping keep insects at bay. My son is mowing the lawn, my daughter and her boyfriend are bagging the leaves that I raked into piles earlier this afternoon, and I just came inside to catch my breath for a few minutes before I tackle another flower bed. One would think that with all this activity buzzing around my household today that I wouldn’t be sad or lonely, but I am.
Yesterday would have been my husband’s fifty-seventh birthday, and the ache in my heart because he is no longer with me never leaves, not even for a few minutes. His death in December from esophageal cancer tore my steady world apart and dropped me into long days and endless nights of waiting for something, although I don’t know what I’m waiting for. And even on days like this, when the sun is warm on my face and I’m busy cleaning leaves from the flower beds and lawns, I stop every few minutes and ask again why he had to die so young. No one can answer me.
I have no answers to anything: how do I hook up the water at our cottage, how do I load the ride-on lawn mower onto the trailer to transport it to the cottage, what tools do I need to keep from his workshop, what are the vast assortment of keys in a basket on his bureau for, how will I maintain a home and a cottage by myself, do I even want to?
I know that I am not the first person nor will I be the last to lose a beloved spouse; I know there are other wives and husbands hurting this weekend when we traditionally flock to our cottages and cabins and begin the summer ritual of relaxing, rejuvenating and recovering from our long Canadian winters.
I’m not going to my cottage today. Instead my son and daughter and her boyfriend will make the half hour trip there, without the trailer and lawn mower, and they will do their best to hook the water up and wake the cottage from its winter hibernation. They will open the windows wide, take the pillows out to the deck to air, and retrieve the lawn chairs and seat cushions from the shed.
If all goes well they plan to spend the night there, and I’ll try my best to join them tomorrow. It will be another first for me without my husband, another step in this slow, painful process of trying to continue on my own.
I’ll let you know how I do.