Today I attended a luncheon for widows.
(It was at a church that I do contract work for. I sat with my friend who works at the church and who is not a widow.)
I was not the target market. I can't say with certainty that I was the youngest widow there, but I can say that the tables surrounding me were filled with grandmothers. Who had perfectly arranged hair. And brooches. And apparently received the same memo to wear red or pink.
My hair was typically slightly askew. No costume jewelry. My clothes were blue and black.
I did listen to the speaker (not a widow), though. One anecdote made me cry.
She said that when she was newly married, she was attending a Bible study populated by mostly older women. Many were widows.
During one session she was complaining about her new husband and his tendency to leave open every cabinet door. His pathway through the house was clearly marked by open doors.
She ranted for a while.
Then one of the older women spoke during the study. She described similar frustration with her husband, who left his shoes throughout the house. She'd trip over them all the time.
Until he was no longer alive. When he was gone, she said, she would have done anything to see his shoes littering the house.
That's when I started to cry.
Steve would sometimes snore. Before he was diagnosed with cancer, this habit would exasperate me. If I didn't fall asleep first, I would have to bury my head under two pillows to soften the noise. If the snoring woke me, I would often nudge him to move to one side or the other, hoping that would stop the ZZZZZZs.
After he was diagnosed, this habit would soothe me. Because a snoring Steve was an alive Steve.
I would lie awake at night, listening to him snore, thanking God. I was thankful for another day that Steve was alive and for my good fortune in sharing life with him. I didn't know how many more nights we'd have left together. I knew that one day our room would be silent.
Today I would love to walk around a house with cabinet doors wide open and Steve shoes scattered in every room and the promise of snoring at night.