A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
My phone used to ring all the time. As did Desreen’s. Not because we have so many friends, but because we updated each other constantly throughout the day about what each of us were up to.
I’d told a joke that had gone down really well in the office and was calling to show off and get congratulated (or more likely to hear Desreen kiss her teeth at my bragging). She’d been asked for I.D. when trying to buy cigarettes because she looked so young. I’d just seen the boy she fancied from One Direction. She’d just been told something outrageous about someone massive in the entertainment industry that was ‘one hundred per cent true’ because [insert name – you know who you are] had told her. I’d just bought a pair of jeans. She’d just had to tell our son off for trying to ‘improve’ a three-hundred pound chair with his crayons.
My phone rarely rings now but it wasn’t until I observed some behaviour in married friends of mine that I’d even really thought about it. I realised that the reason some happy couples work is because they quite literally share their lives. They constantly fill each other in on the minutiae of everyday life because they can. They’ve been fortunate enough to find the one person on the planet prepared to listen and that doesn’t mind if they open up their innermost feelings or just call to say what they had for breakfast. Nothing is too momentous nor too mundane for partners who worship one another.
This became apparent twice to me this week. The first time I was dropping the smallest of gifts round to a friend. I knew he would be at work but I was passing so I knocked on the door and handed it to his wife. To my surprise she knew what it was before I had even taken it out of my bag because he must have mentioned it to her on his return from the gym where we’d discussed it together at the weekend. The fact he had acknowledged such a small thing made me smile about how he must share everything with her.
The second time was when I sent a friend a text message to update him on how many hits I’d had to this blog. I was quite shocked to see just how many people have visited in such a short period of time and I suppose I told him because the person with whom I shared my life has gone. He wasn’t with his wife at the time, yet three minutes later she sent me a text to say she had heard the news. Something that I know could have waited, or perhaps even been forgotten, had to be shared immediately because when we love someone in that way we feel a bit like we’re cheating them if they don’t get the latest updates on our lives. ‘Well you never told me,’ they say when they discover you had chicken for lunch and they have cooked it for dinner, too.
Without even knowing it, these two couples reminded me just how much I miss Desreen.
I miss how she would call when she had nothing to say but just wanted to hear my voice. I miss how she would say, ‘I think that’s all for now’, then call again thirty seconds later. And I miss having someone who would be genuinely interested to know every single new word our son had spoken that day.