“Ah, Spring. Grass is growing. Flowers are blooming. Baby animals are making their way into the world. Birds are chirping and the sun is shining. Yes, spring has sprung. With that comes all sorts of things you’re supposed to as you shed your winter coats. Spring cleaning for example. I got that part down. But, ever since I’ve become a widow, there are things I have to do now that I never did before. And, so many of them – I just don’t know how to do. It’s not that I’m totally inept, it’s just that my husband did all of those things, and he didn’t show me everything before he left me. Like, who knew you had to turn the irrigation back on? Who knew you couldn’t plant tulip bulbs in the spring with your other flowers? Seriously. My husband should have done a much better job preparing me. But, never fear, I have great friends who remind me of what needs to be done, even if not not always how to do it.
The other day, my friend called and said I had to fertilize my lawn.
‘What?,’ I asked.
‘You know, fertilizer.’
Of course, it takes me a minute as visions of me spreading cow sh*t bare-handed dance in my head.
‘It’s going to rain tomorrow, so do it today.’
I said, ‘fine,’ all the while thinking, ‘this is dumb, this is dumb, this is dumb.’ Yet I realize this is one of those things I have to do now, on my own. So, I sent my daughter to the store to grab a bag, and $25.00 later, I’m ready to go.
And here are the things I learned, in no particular order. Oh, who am I kidding. They’re totally in order.
1 – You don’t actually have to put on work clothes to fertilize a lawn my size. Picking an appropriate gardening outfit is not necessary. Neither are gloves or a sun hat or cute rain boots. Or that mesh face thing to keep the bees away.
2 – Fertilizer doesn’t actually look like poop. It looks much more like seeds. Unless we bought the wrong stuff, and I’m about to have a lawn full of corn or some sh*t.
3 – If you don’t use the hand spreader thing in two years, it gets spider webs and baby spider cocoon things all over it.
4 – If that happens, you have to hold it over the trashcan to wipe them off with a piece of cardboard and scream a lot. It also helps to stomp your feet and shiver.
5 – The trashcan needs to be cleaned out. Any takers?
6 – If you load the thing up in the kitchen, the pellets get on the floor. Don’t do that. Because then you have to scream again and yell ‘no’ over and over at your dumb dogs.
7 – When you finally make it outside, you have to push the button and turn the handle thing at the same time. It’s heavy. And awkward. And dumb.
8 – When you finally get that down, I think you’re supposed to walk backwards, otherwise you’re walking into a rain shower of pellets. Except when you walk backwards, watch out for sprinklers. Because they’ll trip you. Right when your neighbor drives by. Oh, and your hat falls off, but that’s ok because the mesh thing over your face saves it from going very far.
9 – My friend suggested I do a grid pattern. Sorry, I have no idea what that is. I failed math. But I’m pretty sure it’s all over the place now anyway. There’s some on the driveway too. Grid that!
10 – I don’t know where to store the rest of the bag so it’s by the paint, because I figure it’s flammable, right? Now I can make bombs? Other than all the f-bombs I threw out, that is.
Honestly, I hope you had a good laugh at my expense, and when I say that, I am not kidding. It’s hard to be a widow. It’s hard to do life alone. It’s hard to do all the things now by myself. But, it’s not impossible. And to honest, I’ve decided to find the adventure in all of them. I’ve decided to embrace it, no matter how much it sucks. I have decided to laugh when I fall down because I know for a fact that if my husband were alive and saw me laying on my back on the wet lawn trying to spit the mesh hat screen thing out of my mouth, that he would be laughing at me, too.
He wouldn’t want me to be sad. He wouldn’t want me to be defeated. He wouldn’t want me to be scared or anxious or worried about figuring it all out. When he was alive, he had faith in me. He believed in me. He built me up and made me feel like I could do anything. He made me feel confident and secure and like I could take on the world. I don’t think that feeling should end just because he died. I don’t think that everything he worked so hard to give me should just go away because he died. It would be wrong, and it would be a disservice to the man he was, and to the woman both he and I wanted me to be.
I miss him every single day. I miss him when things are good, when they’re bad, when they’re easy and when they’re hard. I miss him when I want to call him in the middle of the day and when I go to bed alone and in the still of night at 2 a.m. when I wake up looking for him, longing for the sound of his breathing. I would much rather he be here to remind me of the woman I am, and how valuable and worthy he thought I was when I don’t feel like that. But mostly, I wish he was here to laugh with me because he was so funny. He was so damn funny.
I had planned on a lifetime of laughing with him. I had banked on the fact we were going to grow old together and harass our kids and spoil our grandkids. I had counted on the idea that we were going to tell them stories and we were going to laugh until our bellies hurt and couldn’t breathe. That didn’t happen. And I hate the reality of it. I hate that he is gone. I hate that I am alone. But as much as I hate it, I refuse to be a victim of it. I refuse to let my kids be victims of it. So, because of that, we will keep going. We will keep doing all the things. We will keep reminding each other of all the good and who we’re supposed to be. But, above all, we will laugh. And we will laugh hard. Because in the end, we deserve to be happy. And so do you. Do yourself a favor – go laugh today. I promise, it’ll be ok.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diana Register of Meridian, Idaho. Her books “Grief Life” and “My Kid Is an Asshole, and So Is My Dog” are now available in print and kindle. You can follow her work on her author Facebook page, and Instagram.
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