Someone saw my tattoo Saturday night at a dinner we had in the flat. He was washing dishes to make space in the kitchen while others were preparing food, eating pica pica, drinking wine, putting stuff on the table. He asked me what it meant. I explained about my husbands race number and nickname, how they were one in the same. And then of course, why I got the tattoo.
The guy literally stopped moving, soap covered hands in the air, mouth half open. He paused in this position for 5 seconds while I finished my sentence. I watched him search for what kind of reaction to have – I hate this part the most because of what the next statement so often is – he then said sorry for bringing it up. It’s a strange situation to be in, watching wide eyed panic set in someones eyes as the word died comes out of my mouth. But by then I have to keep going, it is not my job to assuage their discomfort or even acknowledge it. I also won’t change the subject if it is brought up. Because as I’ve said so many times, not talking about JM is so much harder for me than just…talking about him.
I can now accurately predict who will avoid me thereafter if I mention that my husband died (this actually happens, as if I had a disease they could catch). That fact is he died racing motorcycles, and hearing this makes some people really uncomfortable. Occasionally I decide to skip saying I was ever married at all, if I don’t have the energy to deal with an uncomfortable reaction. But more and more, I just talk about him because I like my memories of him and don’t want to forget. And if that makes someone uncomfortable, tough poo. So that’s progress on my part, I guess.
But while I can now say the word widow, I still have a hard time dealing with the life I left behind in California. I miss my friends, my family my dogs, (OMG I miss my dogs like crazy). In fact, more than that, I still cannot deal with so many things in my life. I wonder when and if this will change…
Example 1: I got a message on my US phone from my accountant reminding me that April 15 in coming up and did I want an appointment. Wait…didn’t I just complete my 2008 taxes? I did, in October. Or was it December? Whichever. I can’t remember, my brain still blocks this stuff. I ‘ll get an extension. If I remember to.
Example 2: I am selling my house in San Diego. Though it is not on the market. I am hoping I don’t have to put it on the market, that my neighbor will buy it, or someone will just make me an offer so I do not have to deal with anything. This is not the recommended way to sell a house.
Example 3: I cannot use any of my air miles because they are in JM’s name. In order to transfer these, I will have to produce a copy of my marriage certificate and a death certificate. Then some other shit has to happen that I can’t remember because I stopped listening after that point and promptly told them they can shove their air miles up their ass.
Example 4: My health. I have not had my teeth cleaned or had any type of medical check-up since I arrived in Spain in October, 2008. I don’t have health coverage here and as far as dental care goes, have you seen what people’s teeth look like in Spain? I did have a couple (pretty crappy) therapy visits in BCN over a year ago because I thought I was going crazy.
Example 5: I have not cut my hair since October, nor had a pedicure since December 3rd. My feet resemble hooves.
Example 7: I am provided healthcare and dental coverage in the US through my company, but I have not signed any paperwork or gotten any insurance cards. So actually, I do not know if I am covered in the US.
I’d rather lose money – on my house, in IRS interest, in air miles – than take responsibility and action to set everything in order. So I may not be the best candidate for watching small children (OK, I am never a good candidate for watching small children) or say, planning an itinerary for your visit, or planning much of anything for that matter.
So if you maybe were wondering why I haven’t answered an email, returned a call, acknowledged an event, bought the ticket…well, it’s not because I’m traipsing back and forth between Italy and Spain, drinking wine and riding motorcycles. Though, I am doing that too. I guess that is progress as well.