Sunday, March 18, 2007

Across the void

When P's grandmother died last autumn, I was prepared to be upset at the funeral. I thought that, coming only a few months after P's funeral, it was bound to be hard for me, even though I hadn't known his grandmother well at all.

Well, I got through that all right, but I was completely blindsided by my reaction to this weekend's wedding. I hadn't been expecting to feel sad -- why should I? It was a wedding, not a wake -- and at the beginning, as I was watching G scatter silk flower petals down the aisle, I didn't. But then the minister got up and started talking, and from that point on, I cried without stopping through the entire ceremony. If you know me in real life, you know how unlike me it is to cry in public, or to show any strong emotion really, but I couldn't help it. The best I could do was cry silently, which I did, sitting there alone in the corner of the third pew. And it's a good thing I was alone too, because if anyone had tried to touch me, I might have died of shame on the spot.

What set me off was the minister's speech, which was all about the bond of marriage and the melding of two people into one. Of course she didn't mention the flip side of that coin: what happens when that bond is broken against your will, and the other half of you is ripped away in an instant, while your back is turned. I didn't want to stop being married to P, damn it. In my mind, I still am; I still wear my wedding ring (and his too, on the finger right next to mine); and I hate every time I'm forced to tick "single" or "divorced/widowed" on a form. A few weeks after he died, the Social Security Administration sent me a lot of paperwork that said "marriage ended in death on 7/2/2006," and it seemed like the cruelest cut ever, that some government agency could pronounce my marriage over just like that, when I still feel married and think of myself as married. There's something there, no matter what they say. It's less as if the bond's been severed and more as if it's stretched out long and thin, as if I'm on one side of a chasm and P is on the other, a tiny black dot far off in the distance. But is that true, or is it only in my head?

Anyway, I managed to get hold of myself as the ceremony ended, and I don't think anyone saw my little breakdown, or if they did, they probably just assumed I'm one of those people who cries at weddings. Certainly the bride and groom didn't notice, and I'm grateful for that. Not everything is about me, and the last thing I'd want is for my personal issues to spoil their day.

5 comments:

MomToAp said...

I don't think its only in your head. P is still part of you, part of who you will always be and part of your heart. Streched sounds like a much better explanation. He can never be gone when he is part of who you are. No checked box or words on a piece of paper can take away the bond that you carry with P in your heart. Your right you didn't choose to end your marriage. Neither of you did. Hence its not over just delayed in traffic a bit. You will be back together when all thats blocking your path is cleared away. Right now he is waiting at the destination and you will make it back to him, but right now you have a lot of things to do on the way.

Anonymous said...

Weddings always make me cry - more than any other event. I've never been able to figure out why, but I'd like to think it's because I'm so happily married.

Karen
WHM

writermeeg said...

(hug) I'm crying now. (And you know I, unfortunately, do cry in public!) And I like what momtoap said.

Pixilated Mum said...

When DH and I were going through our marriage prep course, I remember one of the catechists saying that the marriage because something of itself almost. Like, there's DH and there's me, and then there's the sacrament of marriage, which is in a sense all the love and experience and work and tears and joy. It's almost like the marriage becomes its own thing. And I think anyone who has been married for a while, like you and Peter, know that there's something almost supernatural about a good marriage, something that exists beyond you and your spouse ...

I'm so sorry that you cried at the wedding, but it is so understandable, really, V. And yet I understand your mortification. I hardly ever cry, but the times I've done so in public have been so painful. It was even worse when I did that at work a few times long, long ago ...

Your comment in my blog, though, almost made me cry. I remember you going through that period of baby-wanting. I totally do. And it is hard, isn't it?

Thanks for remembering my baby, too. I have never forgotten that on the anniversary of his death that you remembered and gave me a card. That one simple act was one of the most touching things in my life. Thank you.

baggage said...

This is one of the most well written, touching things I've ever read.