Wednesday, February 15, 2012

why it's lonely sometimes

journal entry from last fall:

Late morning, and my husband puts on his sunglasses.  He is puttering around in the dining room, then says, "I'm going for a walk."   I ask him,  "Is there anything you'd like to do today?  It's such a beautiful day."  He replies,  "No, I don't  think so, I can't think of anything.  I'll just go for a walk."  Tone:  remote, formal, quiet.  I say, "OK", and out he goes.  

He comes back soon, saying,  "I forgot my hat."  I try again:  "I'm thinking of going to Pineland Farms today.  Where the old Pineland used to be."   He replies,  "Pineland Farms, I'd like to do that."   I read a little to him from the website, and he says again "I'd be happy to go."   So off we go.  

He says nothing to me in the car that I don't initiate, so mostly we drive in silence.  The drive takes about 1 hr. and 15 minutes in the country, full of fall color and light.  We get there at around 2.  

We drive around the old buildings, then stop at the visitor's center, hoping to get a map.  I ask him at various times if he wants some cider, a smoothie, some tootsie rolls.  "No thanks".  "I ate breakfast this morning."  "Tootsie rolls aren't good for my teeth."  I buy some cider, but have no cash.  He is standing with me in line, and I ask him to pay for it.   He hands the bill to me instead of the cashier.  

I ask him what he wants to see, and he says he wants to see the cows.   He is walking about six paces behind me, in my 'blind spot" where I can't see him.  He slows down when I slow down, so he doesn't advance much, and won't draw up to my side.  We are walking slowly to begin with, and my slowing down practically brings him to a halt.  He waits for me to begin walking again.  (We have talked about this countless times-- this walking behavior never changes.)

We drive to the cow barn, and go in.  He quickly walks in one direction when I start taking photos of cows.  I walk around the barn, snapping photos.  I look up.  He is standing not far from where we parted.  Just looking.  I ask him what he is looking at.  Answer:  "Cows."  I make some comments, he replies monosylabically.  I chat with the help about various cows.  He asks them a few confusing questions that I can't remember now.  The help can't quite figure out what he is asking.  I ask him what he wants to do now, he says he wants to see the horses.  We drive off.  No comments from him as we drive through the grounds.  

We find what looks like a horse barn, with two horses in a pasture.  We stop.  There are sheep here, mostly, it turns out.  We watch a few outside from afar, then I say I am going to go into the barn.  He follows me.  They are letting groups of sheep out of the barn to the pasture to breed.  At one point someone asks us to move to the other side of a chute.  He stands still until I ask him to move, and I describe to him where to go to get to me.  He does not look at me at all, so cannot see my body language.  He instead just starts to walk out on the ramp that the sheep will use.  I have to direct him out of the way of where the sheep are going.  Of course he looks at me very angrily about this.  At one point he asks the help, "Who teaches these sheep to sing?"  This is humor on his part, not confusion.  Everyone there laughs at his quick wit. 

Then we leave and  drive to the equestrian center.  We park, and there are some horses in fenced off pastures near the parking lot.  We go over there, me leading, as usual.  He stands there, looking.  I take photos.  Again, no conversation initiated by him.  He comments monosylabically when I make remarks about the horses.  I ask him does he want to see more horses, pointing to other pastures.  He says no, he'll just stay there.  I walk to some other pastures,  I am gone maybe 10 minutes.  When I come back, he is walking into the equestrian center.  I ask what he's going to see.  He says, "Nothing, I just want to get out of the sun."  We go in, he just hangs back.  I walk around, find a bathroom ask him if he wants to use one.  He says no.  

I keep looking around, and find a door to the stables. I ask him does he want to go there, he follows me again.  No comments in the stables.  He stands around in the middle of the barn.  I ask him, after I take some photos, "What did you see?"  Answer: "Horses".  

I have found a 'lovey' horsey--she likes to press her nose to my forehead.  She and I are leaning into one another.  He says,  "Showoff."  I say, "Who is a showoff?"  He says, "That horse, rising up like that" -- referring to the horse I am with, who is just standing there. 

I ask him what does he want to do now.  He says he is ready to go home but first he wants to wash his hands.  I show him the bathroom.  He can't turn off the faucet he has just turned on, asks me for help.  In the car, he asks me, "Who owns these horses?"  I read him something from a brochure, tell him what I know.   "Hmm."  he says.  We drive back home.  I turn off the road twice to take a few photos, he says "that's fine."  NO conversation on the way home at all.  We get in the driveway and as he gets out of the car he says, "Well, thanks for that idea.  That was fun."  

He walks into the house and proceeds, at 4:30, to make something to eat, not asking me if I want anything.  At first, not knowing what he is doing in the kitchen, I ask him if he is preparing a meal.  He says yes.  I say, which one.  He replies, "the first one", and then corrects himself.  "I had breakfast earlier.  This is the second one."  I ask if this is his dinner.  He sounds irritated and says "Yes.  Why do you ask?"  I say I just want to know when I start to prepare dinner if I should make any for him.  He says, "No, you don't have to make anything for me."  

After he eats, he goes to the freezer, which usually means getting ice cream.  I am in the living room,  a half-wall away.  He takes 10 minutes in the kitchen, first at the sink and then at the counter.  Lots of activity, drawers closing, implements being used, put down, taken up again.  I finally ask him if he is having some diffiiculty.  He says very quickly, "No, it's done now, all done." and I hear the sound of the celophane coming off the ice cream container.  I think it took him all that time to accomplish something he has been doing at least three times a week for years.  

He walks into the TV room with the container of ice cream.  No more words.  It's just 6 pm and he is done with his day.

I miss him every day.  A lot.


  1. The song was wrong: two is the loneliest number when one isn't there.

  2. I am crying.

    I can see this coming to me. And Barbara is correct.

    1. Maybe it will, Kate. Maybe it won't. The thing that is remarkable is that those "found" things from a former post here eventually make this more bearable. Not pleasant. Not consistently bearable. But more bearable than they were in the beginning, when all I could do was alternate between tears, fear and anger. I never believed it would get a particle more bearable, even though I read it in many places, and heard it from others. It is something I guess a person has to take on faith, and wait until it happens. Yes, Barbara is correct, and I know that you know that first-hand. xo