Today is my late husband’s birthday, the first without him, and Saturday is Valentine’s Day, so it’s going to be a tough week for me and others who mourn.
In the month or so since his death, I’ve had some time to reflect on loss and grief. I’ve lost other loved ones–parents, in-laws, friends and relatives–but I’ve come to realize that some losses are not just harder than others. They are life changing events. The loss of a spouse falls into that category. The day we got the diagnosis of metastatic, stage four bladder cancer, I knew my life had been changed irrevocably. The end came sooner than I’d expected, leaving me adrift and rudderless.
In the past, death was more commonplace. The recent measles outbreak has reminded me that prior to the introduction of antibiotics and other modern medicines, infectious disease was the number one killer worldwide. Yes, people still died of heart attacks, stroke and cancer, as we do today, but far more died from infectious diseases like tuberculosis, influenza, pneumonia, and even measles. Modern sanitation eleminated the outbreaks of water-born disease like choleral and typhus, but it took modern drugs and vaccines to eliminate diseases like polio.
Tuesday night, the local PBS is going to show The Forgotten Plague: Tuberculosis in America. I’m planning to record it since one of my mother’s relatives died from tuberculosis at the age of seventeen, and her Aunt Martha survived the disease.
The Victorians had elaborate rules about funerals and mourning, including the following: “A person in deep mourning does not go into society, or receive or pay visits.” I’m so glad I’m not living in those days, though I have friends who have gone into self-imposed seclusion after losing a spouse. Each person mourns differently, and one size doesn’t fit all. Having to remain isolated for an entire year would drive me mad.
I’m not out partying, of course, but I have been to meetings and spent time with friends over a meal or coffee or to watch TV. Distractions like that are welcome. The house is far too quiet without my husband in it. So tonight I’ll be at Lady Jane’s Salon OC to hear my fellow romance authors read from their books, and on Saturday, I’ll attend the monthly OCCRWA meeting. This will be the first Valentine’s Day in years that I’ve had to buy my own candy, but that’s okay. I’ve been hoarding a See’s Candy gift card for a rainy day, and this is it.
Sorry to be such a downer, but this is my life now. In time, I will feel more cheerful. I hope you all have a good week. Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card & 2015 Mouse Pad Calendar. There’s only a week left to enter and this may be the last drawing for a while.
Linda / Lyndi