About Me

My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Worst Thing My Late Husband Ever Said To Me

I don't remember what I did to make Ken say it. He was rarely angry. Never mean. So I must have been awful, critical and pissed off. I must have really been giving it to him good. I have no idea what I was upset about then, more than twenty years ago. We were vacationing in Puerto Rico. Steady Ken driving us around the island on the frightening, perilous roads where huge, lumbering trucks passed us as we approached blind curves. I can still remember how the drivers came right up on our bumper before lurching around to make the aggressive move past us. But I can't remember why we were fighting.

I imagine that I was angry. I imagine that I went on too long about who knows what now. I imagine feeling very entitled to my boiling anger. Then there was Ken with all that controlled calm. What did he know about intense emotion anyway? Uh, well, he was a therapist, so I guess he knew a thing or two, but he rarely displayed anger himself.

This time, though, he gave some back to me.

I wonder now what I did and said to make him strike back.

This I remember. I apologized for my angry words. I said I was sorry. I said, "I know I'm lucky to have you."

And he said this:

"Well, I'm not lucky."

I'll never forget it. It was the worst thing he ever said to me.

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It's easier to remember all the great times in your marriage once it's over. It takes more courage to look at the rough spots. Take the halo off for a moment. What harsh words or fights did you engage in with your partner that can still make you cringe today? Spend 5 minutes writing about it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

We had to find homes for our 2 dogs when we moved. He loved these dogs, and when it came time to take them to the no-kill shelter, I told him I didn't have time. To me, I had taken care of everything else that needed to be done to move... utilites,packing,etc. so I thought it was the least he could do. He left me a note telling me I was an uncaring, uncompassionate person to make him do this... He died two weeks later in a car accident. I had to burn that note, but I'll never forget it. I've apologized a thousand times in my mind.

Jill Schacter said...

Thanks for sharing. These kind of memories are painful. But I guess real life isn't perfect....

Suddenwidow said...

When I take his halo off (I still don't have one; in fact I wear an anti-halo often in my mind - isn't that strange imagery!), I know he wasn't perfect and we did have rough patches in our marriage. But I honestly feel that the times he did get angry were times that I drove him to it by being very critical and overly opinionated and pushing every button I knew to push before he had no choice but to snap back. He actually was a very calm and non-critical person, and our rough patches were rare but my biggest regret is that he doesn't get to benefit from my new found wisdom that so much of the little crap I used to care about doesn't matter. I can't think of a quote of the worst thing he ever said to me but I too have appologized a thousand times in my mind for not always being the patient and non-critical wife he deserved.

Jill Schacter said...

Deb,
Whenever you write about your marriage, it sounds like mine! (As in really good. As in how much you admired and depended on Austin the way I depended on my rock Ken.) And I too feel like I was a bit of the anti-halo wearer! I think we made life good and fun for them perhaps. As well as taking advantage of their calm, non-judgmental natures from time to time. I don't want to speak for you, but your descriptions sound so familiar to me. The other thing I always wanted to mention to you is that though I've lived in Chicago since I was 18, I grew up in Thunder Bay and Toronto. Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel like less of a bitch!

Carol Scibelli said...

I think we woman are often controlled by hormones...My poor husband had to deal with PMS and then after a brief reprieve, menopause...I'd keep the widows opened in January...It's a miracle he didn't die of frostbite!
Now, he's gone and I'm past menopause and very level...the woman he would have loved to love!
But, part of who I've become isn't hormone driven. It's having lost him and realizing what's really important...Looks like my husband dying made me a better wife!

Janice Badger Nelson said...

Jill:
I admire your courage to revisit that moment. We all have them.
We just hate to think about them.

My husband had a heart attack at age 47. He is now 51 and doing well. We used to be meaner to one another on occassion. Now we watch more closely what we say. But things do slip out in a heated moment of anger. We just apologize sooner.

Jill Schacter said...

Carol,
I know what you mean. Even though I think I was a darn good partner, it is with some wistfulness that I must admit that I am likely to be wiser and kinder the next time around. It is one of the ironic gifts we get from sustaining such a big loss. Janice, it did take courage to write that down. Thank you for noticing and for reminding me that we all have these moments.