Sunday Post 129: I Prefer Married

You’d think after 3 years I’d stop finding stuff that surprised me about being a widower (I still can’t believe that is an adjective that can be used to describe me).  I just realized that I am not involved, in the least, at DJ’s school.  I guess I’m not really involved in Stephanie and Michelle’s school either.  But because I know a lot of folks there, I sort of feel like I have an in to what’s going on.  But with DJ, I am clueless.

Lisa did that.  Although she worked, she also helped with the PTA, assisted in the kids’ classrooms, gave the teachers a break at lunch, and sometimes drove for field trips.  In the process, she met other parents.  Those relationships led to connections for me.  She did the same thing at the swim club – she volunteered for swim meets.  She met other moms.  She signed me up to be a timer or a kid-pusher.  I felt a part – because of her.

Last week I cancelled our pool membership.  We never go anymore.  I don’t know anyone there.  I just found myself sitting on a lawn chair reading a magazine, missing Lisa.  Why pay $200 a month for that?  I can miss her in my own yard for free.

Lisa controlled our social calendar.  “We’re going out on Friday with the Smiths.  Wear khaki’s and your navy jacket.”

“Who are the Smiths?  Do I know them?”

“You’ll recognize them when we get there.  He’s bald – first name is Jack.  You manned the mechanical bull at the school carnival with him last year.”

“Oh yea.  The time you signed me up for a two-hour shift without my permission.”

“They needed help.  I knew you’d just be standing there.  Didn’t hurt you did it?  And, you made a new friend.”

“Who?”

“Jack Smith.”

“Oh.  Yeah.  Jack.”

Yes – she volunteered, built our relationships, set our social calendar and even told me what to wear.  Now I have to sign up – I hate to sign up!  And what’s worse is now I have to do it on-line through some “Sign Up Genie.”  By the time I get around to volunteering, there’s nothing left but taking out the garbage after the event is over – a one man job no doubt.  No friend there.

The school functions stink without a spouse.  She was always there for me.  I always had someone to talk to.  Now if the conversation ends with the person I’m chatting with, I’m alone.  My crutch is gone.  I have to seek out some other poor soul or hover around the ham biscuits like I haven’t eaten all day.  “Sure am hungry.  No time to talk.  Gonna hit the food table… AGAIN.”  I’d rather have a root canal than attend a party without a spouse.

And yet, my kids miss out too.  My lack of involvement hurts their ability to get connected to other families.  My desire to avoid the social crowds without my security blanket keeps them from the family events – you know, the ones where you all pull up together and then your kids leave you until it’s time to go home.

I have to do better.  I need to join a committee; maybe lawn beautification or something.  I need to find another single soul at school who needs some party company too.  Maybe we can hit the carnival in tandem, serve punch together, man the mechanical bull.

I can do it.  But I sure do prefer married.

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15 Comments

  1. I admire your commitment and I feel for your loss. I have never lost a spouse to death but I have been divorced twice and single a long time now. What I learned in the beginning when I was missing my other half and hating being single is that I focused on those feelings too much. I had to put myself in a whole new frame of mind. I couldn’t look at other couples and feel lonely, awkward, and glaringly obviously single; therefore pathetic. Those were the easiest and most natural feelings. They came without trying. I had to ignore them and focus on something else; whatever else it took to make me stop seeing myself as I thought others were seeing me. Whatever it took to shake off those feelings of awkward and pathetic. Sometimes all it took was an air of confidence and a smile. Like looking strangers in the eye and smiling my best smile as if I were happy and not lonely (it also takes a little acting). Catching the glimpse of other parents at a ball game and giving them that “so proud of them” smile. Stuff like that…

    Reply
  2. kim whitley

     /  August 4, 2013

    Bruce, you do realize that you have now opened yourself up for all your “friends” to sign you up for volunteer positions all over the place …haha!!! Hey Bruce, we need somebody help with some things at Broughton this year, you interested? LOL!

    Reply
  3. Susan

     /  August 4, 2013

    Permit me to get on a soapbox for a minute and say that if you have kids, most clubs charge the same rates for two adult and one adult families (except the Y). Some clubs won’t even LET you join if you are a single parent and a female 🙂

    Reply
  4. Wow, healthy of you to be able to voice those thoughts and emotions. I suffer from social anxiety and introversion and, although I still have my spouse, I am usually alone at these types of functions as well. I feel horribly awkward and self-conscious, and my face is sore from fake smiling by the end of it. I hate school fairs and ice cream socials, but I attend because the kids need me to.

    I find the volunteering solves the problem for me. If I’m painting faces, my interaction is with the kids and there is no expectation on me to socialize. It’s a crutch, but it gets me through!

    And I agree with Kim… now that it is publically know that you will volunteer, you will have no free time left! Good luck.

    Reply
  5. I’m probably the biggest sissie here but I cried reading this one Bruce.
    I’m not yet married but the girl I’m hoping to marry soon is terminally ill and I know I’m signing up to be a widower in advance. Reading this made me see what’s in store ahead for me when that time comes. It’s the reason why I followed your blog; to learn in advance what it shall be like.
    I hope to make find memories w/ her just like you did w/ Lisa.
    I love your blog.

    Reply
  6. I prefer married too. I hate being a widow. I just read an article from the Wall Street Journal saying it takes over 3 years to feel like yourself again, to feel positive about the future, after the death of a spouse. Of course I’m sure this is just an average and individuals vary widely. But I bring it up in hopes that your pain will continue to abate and that before too long, well, I don’t know. Just that your pain will continue to abate. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. He’d have been 51. I think it’s going to be a hard day.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 7, 2013

      I just rounded the three year mark – and I think it does feel much, much easier most of the time. But I don’t think it will ever go away fully. Ya know?

      Reply
  7. khanclan

     /  August 6, 2013

    I understand how you feel. I’m a widow, too. A bit early on in life so while my friends are busy being married, having kids, establishing a life or wanting to get married, I’m stuck in the middle of both paths. I hope you find some peace.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 7, 2013

      It’s there most of the time – just not at school functions!

      Reply

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