I’m having a new couch and loveseat delivered tomorrow. It’s something Peter and I talked about getting since his work bonus in February. For some reason, he kept dragging his feet on going out to look at some. Maybe it was timing. Maybe he liked the cushions on our fifteen-year-old couch squished down to nothing. Maybe he was being nostalgic. Or, maybe he hated going furniture shopping. Whatever the reason, we never went and the eye soar of a couch remained. So, ten days after he died, my daughter and I hopped in the car to do some furniture shopping.
It was actually a fun outing. We both thought our anxiety would grab hold and pull us out of the stores. But it didn’t. It was the first small victory we had over our emotions, and it felt good. It felt even better because I finally got the couch I wanted these past months. Sure, the furniture coming tomorrow is groovy and more my style than Peter’s which is okay since he’s dead. (I know. That sounded so matter-of-fact, brutal even. I find myself saying things like this all the time. I think because I’m still trying to convince myself I’m on this journey. ) Anyway, what really felt good in this furniture buying adventure was the decision I made, my first one without him. Of course, it was short-lived, but I’ll get to that later.
As I think I told you before, Peter made many of our decisions. I agreed because, well, some of them didn’t matter to me. I didn’t know or even care about things like what type of car runs the best, or which species of flowers grow in direct sunlight. I mean, as long as the car took me from A to B and looked decent enough, and the Salvias bloomed deep shades of blue, I was happy. I also gave into financial decisions. The talk of money, investments, stocks, bonds, banking, whatever, never drew me in or even gave me a soft tap on the shoulder for attention. It was a language I never spoke, nor cared to learn. Yawn. Bored. Move on, please.
Here’s the thing though. When you are apathetic to decisions, it gives your partner a rightful justification to make choices without your input. For example, if I don’t really care about what type of tools you were interested in, will you really ask me for my advice? Or if I am like ‘whatever’ in response to a brand of peanut butter, would you hesitate to buy the brand you like? If I have no interest or knowledge in the different IRAs, what would stop you from investing based on your own knowledge?
These were the types of seesaws in our relationship. The things I didn’t care about or understand or cared to understand, Peter took over, with my blessing and a shrug of my shoulders. And it worked. It worked for twenty-eight years of our marriage…until he died and left me making all the decisions, which has turned out be really scary shit.
Our old couch was taken out of the house this morning. Two nice, young, men removed all of the seen-better-days furniture. You have to take out the old to make room for the new, right? This had to be done, and when it was, I had a good cry. I sat in the middle of the floor, sobbed, surrounded by nothing. A bit metaphoric for my life right now, don’t you think? And then, I panicked with a flood of insecurity.
What if the furniture arriving tomorrow doesn’t fit the room? What if it’s too big or too clunky? What if it’s all just too much – too loud, too uncomfortable, too ugly? What if this first decision I made is a disaster? Will this be a foreshadowing of all future decisions? What if my apathy caused me to be a poor decision-maker? Or was it ever apathy? Was I unable to make a decision because I was not smart enough covered up with shrugs of I don’t care? What if I’m not smart enough to survive this widowed life? What if I’m not going to be good in any decision in my life without him? How will I navigate in life without Peter at all?
I did make one huge decision in our marriage and that was to step aside and allow Peter to make so many. It was my choice. No doubt about it. Because you see, I knew Peter was going to outlive me or we were going down together. No doubt in my mind about that either. But then Death chuckled mockingly at me and snatched Peter from my life, leaving me this one, big, insecure glob of self-doubt.
A single friend of mine said it’s hard to make decisions without someone to bounce it off of. And maybe that’s what I am feeling right now – the ‘without someone’, more specifically, the ‘without Peter’. Perhaps this all part of my mourning process. And perhaps, my apathy during our marriage made the ‘without’ part worse. Or, maybe all of the above. I don’t know. I can’t decide.