I’ve been thinking about Life Segments, maybe because spring is the time for renewal, or maybe because the COVID crisis shows signs of weakening its strangle-hold. We each have our own segments; mine are my Michigan youth, Chicago career, Washington aging.
Each segment has its own highs and lows, globally and personally. They overlap, although are mostly distinct from each other. As you move from one Life Segment to the next, you do your best to conquer old grief as you look forward to new joy.
My husband was not a part of Segment One but a major player in Segment Two. He was an unusual sort of fellow. After all, the Simpsons’ Itchy & Scratchy Show is produced by a cartoon character named after him.
He did not come very far with me into Segment Three. He missed a lot of bad stuff not being around for the last twelve years. He didn’t have to mourn shootings of Gabby Gifford; children in Sandy Hook and Parkland; shoppers at Costco, Walmart, and King Sooper; worshippers at churches and a synagogue; fun seekers at a nightclub, a bar, a movie theatre, the Vegas Strip.
He never suffered through Gangnam Style, or the Harry and Meghan melodrama, or heard that Robin Williams departed in a spectacularly unfunny way. He’ll never know that I have disassembled his shrine to Kansas basketball, or that I don’t watch March Madness anymore.
He would have loved Space X, the revived interest in opening the UFO secret files, the duets of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, and an iPad. I’m less sure about how he’d react to Instagram or to Dotty, my spoiled-rotten Maltese.
When a spouse dies, a new Life Segment probably begins for you. It might be little obligations that get you through from one to the next. The kitchen still needs to be cleaned, the African violet on the window sill still needs to be watered, and the utility bill still needs to be paid. A trick I found for the long haul: I look at current events from his point of view as well as my own, even though he is long gone.
We continue to agree or squabble. It keeps him part of my present.
But still. He is not a defining force in Segment Three. I’ve built a life I love with the help of family and friends. In that way, I am a success at this widow stuff. This is the segment that will see me out. It’s not his; it’s my own.
It’s also the Life Segment in which most of us can express our opinions loudly and freely. We’ve earned that right.
Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors. Her newest historical novel, “Dr. Emma’s Improbable Happenings,” is available at Port Book and News, One of a Kind Gallery and Amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.