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A widow’s sorrow |


A widow’s sorrow

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

I write this on April 18, my husband Loy’s birthday.  If he were still with me, what would we do?  Maybe go out for lunch or dinner.  Maybe invite our old friends to come over and sing with us.  Maybe his children would host a birthday party for him.  Whatever the plan, we would have a great time.  But now he is gone, left me markedly alone, realizing belatedly that being with him had filled my life.  Suddenly we had drivers, household help, then caregivers.  I — who grew up an only child, an introvert — had to deal with so many people.

But was that a problem?  When I was younger I worked in advertising. Always with so many people of various characters. Always trying to conduct them in some symphony that guaranteed all of us outstanding work and friendship results.  But I left all that when I was 57, lived alone, learned to be totally independent.  I also was very happy then, swore never to get married again.  From 2001 to 2018, I lived alone.  No complaints at all.  Then I met Loy and my life was set to music.

He was a wonderful singer who led me to sing with him.  I was nowhere as good as he but I sang anyway.  Metaphorically, we made lovely music together.  Then life took a sharp turn.  He entered the hospital for surgery then had a stroke when we got home.  It was downhill for his health since then.  But we all adjusted.  His eldest son and I took excellent care of him until God decide to call him.  We all accepted that with grace.

Now, Loy has been gone for more than three months and I feel carried and dashed by huge waves of grief.  I can’t seem to move forward.  Sometimes I feel paralyzed, can’t get out of bed without knowing that in less than five minutes I will be back and will stay there until the next morning.  Into this period, my childhood friends, now Canadian residents, come to visit, pull me out of my apartment.  I move into their hotel, try my best to enjoy myself, and yes, I do but I couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t home. I am caught in a cocoon of missing.  All the time whether alone or with others I miss my husband.  So I try to look at other scenes, to live in a hotel with old friends, then I miss home, miss my bed, miss my sleep.

Finally I can’t take it anymore.  I explain myself.  Thank God they understand!  I go home and recover my lost sleep in three days.

But then through all this I seem to have also misplaced my appetite.  I used to be a ravenous eater.  I had an operation, I still ate well.  But for one week now I’ve been eating so little.  It feels like my stomach has shrunk with all the rest of me.  A little bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and I feel so full.  I don’t eat lunch until 3 p.m. and have hardly any dinner.  I really don’t know what is wrong with me.

Last night I prayed to my husband. Help, please, help.  After I turned off the reading light beside my bed, I noticed the fluorescent flashlight that my husband had bought once, had been turned on.  He loved small flashlights and left three, which I kept beside my bed, which was his bed before but I decided to sleep on his side after he left.  I turned it off.

I woke up at around midnight and found the flashlight on again.  Is this you, darling?  I asked.  No answer so I turned it off.  It isn’t one of those flashlights that are easy to turn on and off.  You have to press and push the switch.  I woke up again at around 4 a.m.  The flashlight was on again.  Ok, it’s you, darling, I said.  Thank you for letting me feel you this way.  Any other way I might have died of surprise and fear.

I decided to get out of bed at 7 a.m.  The light was still on but as I looked at it, it turned off.  Thank you, my love, I said out loud.  Thank you for looking after me.  Then, since I live all alone and there’s technically no one around to think I must be going crazy, I sang him the Happy Birthday song.

I hope that made him happy.

Why did I write this?  Not to indulge myself.  To let people know that becoming a widow — even if you knew it was coming — is not easy.  It’s very difficult.  Your sorrow lies in the pit of your stomach hard as a rock.  Your tears don’t fall.  You are sad, sorrowful, want to get out of it but can’t.  You simply wish one day to be saved.

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