Check out my honors! (Click on the badges to see other great blogs too)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The color of a widow...

Black is the color of mourning but I’ve come to believe gray is the color of a widow. The widow’s world is overshadowed by guilt, regret, doubt, uncertainty, and gloominess once the actual mourning has subsided and we begin to “move on” and establish a new normal. So to me, gray is most appropriate shade.

Guilt and regret are the most salient emotions for me these days…there are a thousand decisions along the way that if I’d made differently might have resulted in a different outcome for Andie.

As I was walking with the girls the other day on the familiar route that Andie and I used to jog together a memory ran through my mind like a jumpy movie reel- fleeting snippets passing through my consciousness. A few weeks before he died he had complained that he got short of breath when we were running. This was one such occasion, and he had to slow down and quit running. He told me to go on ahead without him and finish the run- he would walk home behind me. I remember turning to him and saying, “Oh yeah right, with my luck you’ll have a heart attack and drop dead and there will be no one here to save you, and I’ll just be waiting for you at home. I’m not leaving you.” So we walked the rest of the way home together.

The irony of that situation is that I didn’t leave him, and when he did “drop dead” from heart problems I was lying right beside him in bed. I stayed by his side until he passed from this world, and despite the fact that I was right there with him I still couldn’t save him. So it didn’t matter after all, except that it gives me peace to know that he was not alone in those last moments and that I was there the whole time.

I have a lot of guilt over not being able to do more to save him-not acting quicker, wishing I hadn’t gone into panic mode, not knowing what to do. I regret making the flippant comment that “with my luck” he would drop dead. I regret that I didn’t make him go see a cardiologist after he couldn’t finish our normal run. I regret that we went on vacation and were miles from the nearest hospital when he died. There is guilt that in an effort to lessen his anxiety about his chest pain, I tried to act as if it was just something minor instead of being honest with how scared I was. I regret that we chose to have his doctor look at him on Monday when we returned from vacation instead of going right in on Friday morning. There is guilt that perhaps I didn’t tell him enough how much I loved him or how much he meant to me. There is guilt about all the fights and things said in the heat of the moment over the years that were hurtful. I regret that this past year of having twins was one of the most difficult years in our marriage and I didn't have more patience with him.

My guilt colors my world. There is a dense fog over my perceptions. It makes me second guess all the decisions I’ve made and will have to make. What if I do it wrong again, what consequences will I have to suffer the next time around?

Guilt: the color of a widow and regret it’s close cousin...tandem shades of gray.


  1. Thinking of you, sending you love and prayers.

  2. One of my regrets is that I couldn't be by John's side when his heart stopped. That he was alone and I had to find him a few hours later... that while he was dying I was out looking at wedding reception locations. I was planning out a future that wasn't going to happen.
    Just like you saying "just my luck."
    And we live in regret wishing there were more we could do. I get you. I get you 100%.