This picture was waiting for me on Facebook when I woke up:
It was taken at my penultimate singles conference, five years ago today. That weekend was a watershed for me. The workshops were good. The speakers were good. The food was good, and at the conclusion of Sunday night's fireside, I had a meltdown. In that linked blog post, I blamed it on the closing hymn, one of my favorites, which nevertheless consistently brings me to tears. Looking back five years later, I'm pretty sure that the deepest reason for my tears was not the hymn, but the realization that I had fallen for Beloved (at the time I was still calling him the new guy, because I didn't know if he was going to get weird on me and/or go away).
Remember, by this time I had already dealt with the Near Date Experience, the Near Fiance Experience, and Br. Abacus a/k/a He Who Shall Not Be Named. I still believed the revelation which Heavenly Father had given to Secondborn when she was sixteen, that He had someone very special picked out for me, and she was not to worry. But I wasn't sure it was going to happen in my lifetime. In the local singles pool, the odds weren't good, and some of the goods were decidedly odd.
I suppose it is fitting that today I had lunch with several of the local LDS Widows and Widowers, one of them my friend who is five years ahead of me in Widow 101, and two of them friends from the singles program (he a widower like Beloved) who married shortly before Beloved passed.
It was good to share stories about him, to hear about the good things he had done for them, and to keep his memory alive outside of the family. It was good to spend time with people who get it, as only people who have lost a spouse get it, and to pick one another's brains, and to laugh together as well as quietly wipe our eyes. It's a club that nobody wants to join, but ah! there are such fine people in it.
Changing the subject slightly, when I was fetching Fourthborn after work, one of the songs on my Pandora station was an Allan Jackson standard that reminds me of my father, even though Dad was not southern. It brings me to tears, frequently a ten-second bout of ugly-cry that is gone as quickly as it comes. And last night I found myself stifling the tears, maybe so as not to embarrass my child. And noticing a few minutes later that my neck and shoulders were stiff as a board. I laughed at myself during my bedtime prayers, when I realized that I had tried to hide my feelings from my child the empath.
Today I brought that up. Had she felt my tears when I got quiet during that song? Yes, she had. I apologized. Next time I'll just let 'er rip. This is the song.
I've had a good cry, the one I should have had last night, and all is well.
- Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!