The Unwidow Chick

Updated: October 19, 2015
two months before Devin died...
two months before Devin died...two months before Devin died…

I am not a true widow.  I never lawfully married the man who died five years ago.  And we were not together when he died.  But I still got tossed into “widowness” and things became different.  It was like we got dropped on a boat in the middle of nowhere and our boat had no name, a broken sail and preservers that had no life left in them.  We did not ask for our paltry ride and had no choice but to own it.

The first day was very long.  It started with two detectives at my work.  They pulled me in a corner and told me he was dead.   Evidently, the half gallon of vodka and fistful of pills killed him in a quiet way. They said he went peacefully.    Peacefully??  Hmmm and wow!  There was nothing peaceful about how “he went?”  Devin’s struggles were hardcore.  They were mine, his and ours, intertwined together for a decade.  I couldn’t think straight.  My body was shaking and my hands were flapping, weird sounds came out of my mouth.   Were they screams?  Nah, I couldn’t even scream.  A stranger came over and held me.  I was a complete picture of a perfect mess.

I drank wine like a champ that day.  It helped my body stop from involuntarily shaking.  It calmed me down just enough to figure out the best way to tell my kids.  I called therapists and took notes.  I wrote sentences on random pieces of paper.  I couldn’t feel my fingers, they just gripped the pen that scribbled the words while I tried to stay focused.  It felt like my world just got tiny and everything I had to do was huge.

After school, I fed them dinner and dessert.  I recited aloud, the words that had been racing inside my head and out of my pen.   I told my kids they would never see their dad again.  I told them he was dead.  They cried and  screamed.  Later, I tucked them into bed.  I couldn’t eat.  Everything melted into a haze, friends showed up and I disappeared.

I woke the next day hung over but wide awake to greet my kids.  I ignored my throbbing head and swollen red eyes.  I felt like I had been punched in the face a billion times but I refused to take notice.  I did what they said and stuck to our routine.   I put them on the school bus.  I reeked of pain and smelled like booze.  I recognized the stench.  After all,  I had slept with it for all those years.

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  • Meg Leach

    Christine, Met you because we share a common thread of “widowness”. I do not wish that pain on anyone. I am so glad we met and I marvel at how you have grown and own what life handed you. Much love to you and your girls!

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