Tuesday at sundown begins Sivan 16, 5779. That date probably doesn't mean much to many of my readers. Nor does the date Sivan 16, 5769. But it means something to me.
That date marks a decade of life on my own.
A decade. That's a long time.
That's roughly one-third of the time I was married, and that sounds impossible.
That’s so long ago that sometimes I don't remember what's it's like to make a "group" decision.
That's such a long time that I have to think about whether or not it's a movie we saw together. . . or something I saw after.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . .
I still wake up in the middle of the night and automatically fling my arm out to see if Ziggy is there...or if he fell asleep on the couch downstairs watching TV even though he's never been in this house and there isn't a TV in the living room where the couch is.
I still stand in front of the array of herbs at the grocery store and automatically think twice about buying dill because Ziggy was mildly allergic.
I still wear a wedding ring. I don't know why, but I feel naked without it.
What I have learned over these last ten years:
Time is a telescope: you can zoom in and out at will but you never change where you are standing. There are days it all happened yesterday and days when I can't remember what it was like to even be married. All at the same time.
Nobody is interested in helping you make decisions: You're supposed to be a grownup and you're supposed to be capable of making your own decisions even when you know nothing about what you're supposed to be deciding.
You are a third or a fifth or a seventh or a ninth wheel: your condition upsets the balance of congeniality. Without your partner, there are places you no longer fit. It's just the way it is.
Nobody wants to feel your keppie: Yeah, I know that was last week's rant, but I just re-read it and it's still true. (But I am feeling much better, thank you.)
Dating is not a requirement: If you want another partner, go for it. Do what is right for you. Look, if some handsome guy sits down next to me on a plane and sparks fly, I might be amenable. But the truth is, I'm okay with me as a whole; I don't have a burning need to be someone else's other half.
In the low moments, and there are some, I think about what the Senior Son keeps telling me:
Look at everything you've done since Dad died. You haven't exactly been sitting around.
A couple of days before he died, Ziggy asked me for my dad's anthology of English lit. When I gave it to him, he quickly found what he was looking for and read this to me:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley ~ 1875
"That wasn't for me," he told me, handing back the open book. "That was for you."
I try to remember I am, indeed, the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. Some days, it's easier than others. Tuesday night won't begin one of them.
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
YOU are the master of your own fate and the captain of your own soul.