I’ve done a lot of connecting with widows online lately, and I’m feeling more and more comfortable self-identifying as such. It’s liberating. There’s a word for me! I’ll just add a modifier. “Unmarried widow.” It reminds me of the classic Orthodox hymn, “Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride” (otherwise known as “Agni Parthene” in the Greek). If the Holy Theotokos (God-bearer) and Ever-virgin Mary can be called Unwedded Bride, why can’t I be an Unwedded Widow?
Not so sure about the “Rejoice” part…But if somebody can write a hymn called “Glory to God in all things” (which is beautiful, by the way) in the Gulag, starving to death in a concentration camp in Siberia, maybe at some point I’ll be able to actually rejoice. (How on earth did he DO that? Well, I also wonder how St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia managed to survive over a decade in a black basalt pit underground without losing his mind…I visited it once…Darkness, dampness, and silence…)
But one thing I can rejoice at: there is a word for me! Widow! Unmarried widow, unwedded widow…Add a modifier, I have a phrase. Hira Animfefte (Xera Anymphefte) (Greek), Vdova Nenevestnaya (Russian/Slavonic), Unwedded Widow.
Hira is actually Greek for widow, so literally my moniker is Widow Unwedded. It’s my title; nay, it’s my badge of honor.
I had The Real Thing. I loved truly, I loved much, and I was loved as much or more in return. Warts and all. Oh, I know what all his faults were, and I remember them with affection. A wonderful thing a friend of mine told me the week after my beloved Nelson died, when I was desperate for stories of him–she told me about a time he was waiting for me outside our dorm building while she was smoking with her then-boyfriend. Remarking on my lateness in getting myself out the door, he remarked affectionately, “Oh, it’s just one of her adorable little quirks.”
I miss the way he would look at me–with love, with affection, sometimes with barely-contained lust…I miss talking to him for hours about anything and everything. I miss learning about classical music from him. I see my nearly 2-year-old nephew displaying some musical aptitude, and it hurts that he won’t have an Uncle Nelson to teach him to play the violin…It hurts that we never got to be married, even for one day. It hurts that we never got to have children together. What a waste of good genetic material!
I was at CVS yesterday to pick up some perscriptions, and spent some time in the shampoo aisle…Before he died I would periodically buy him curly hair products. I used to love encouraging the curls in his hair to do their adorable ringlet thing. For some reason he usually just smooshed it down, which made it wavy…but given the right conditioning product and playing with it with your fingers, it would totally do the ringlet thing. *Swoon!* And he loved it when I played with his hair. It felt good to him. And he liked the results. …So now I see curly hair products and they all scream “Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!” and I want to cry, but I can’t, because I seem to need to reach critical mass on tears before they come out or something. AAAURGH!
Eye products too. For contact lenses. He was always carrying around a gigantic bottle and putting eyedrops in his eyes. Before he died he’d replaced his contacts with glasses…He was going to get contacts again, he was planning to, but of course it never happened…So the contacts solution aisle also screams “Nelson!” and it’s like a knife in my heart. And I think, he shouldn’t be dead. He shouldn’t be dead! He shouldn’t be dead! He was only 45. He had so many big plans! He was so lively, so vibrant!
Well, that’s enough for now…I’ll write more later…Thanks for reading…