Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Just one of those (many) days

THURSDAY, January 21 – ‘Do you think about Mom, Eamonn?’

‘Of course I do.’

‘And what exactly do you think?’

‘Everything. But this ‘everything’ is totally blank.’

‘How about if we sit down on the couch and look at photos of Mom?’


‘Good, where shall we start?’

‘You know what,  maybe we shouldn’t do that after all.’

‘Okay, Eam. What shall we do instead?

‘I don’t know.’

‘Maybe just nothing.’


Tomorrow I’m going to let him play hooky. He’s earned it. In fact, he needs it.

Facts of the fatal collision

WEDNESDAY, January 20 – Late this afternoon I received a copy of the provisional criminal prosecution files. The cover of the  100 page report reads:  Fatal collision, October 22, 2009 at or about 15:50, at the crosswalk Stadion Road in Amsterdam. Summons number 2009 036333’.

All the details are there, technical and forensic, but the most important documents are the depositions of the witnesses, which are highly incriminating for the motorcycle cop. He is fucking toast. Fucking, fucking toast. I’m very, very angry at him. What an incredible bastard. The other people in the coffee place, where I have sat down to read the files, are giving me strange looks.

I shake my head. Emotional material. Description of Jennifer’s last moments, over and over again, in the words of the eyewitnesses. I’m not going to examine all that now.  When I get home, I’ll study it carefully.  Tomorrow my lawyer and I have an appointment with the public prosecutor.

I’m close to home when it all gets to be too much for me. Walking down Beethoven Street, I’m about to step into the crosswalk when the driver of a Land Rover, after initially slowing down, blows his horn and drives straight through. I catch up with him, knock on the window, and call him everything under the sun. I also explain why I’m so angry. He doesn’t say anything.

When I get home, I ask the babysitter to stay for another ten minutes. Upstairs in my bedroom, I start crying, and then get hold of myself. Eamonn needs me. Early this morning he told me that he thought some of his classmates were making fun of him behind his back.  No proof, of course, but the suspicion is preying on his mind. I have to reassure him: right now that’s more important than the proof of Jennifer’s death.

Cat’s gone. Fearing the worst

bodhiTUESDAY, January 19 – The cat hasn’t come home. After almost 24 hours outside I’m beginning to worry about the cat, of course, but even more about what it would do to the boys if worse came to worse …

21:00 Crisis averted. Late that afternoon I told the boys that Bodhi was gone. Of course, those weren’t my exact words. I said simply, ‘He’s still outside.’ Sander was about to leave for conservatory, and didn’t pay too much attention, but Eamonn was immediately concerned. He wanted to go outside and start looking for him.

‘We’re going to have dinner first’, I said, which we did, even though Eamonn couldn’t eat anything. We called his name, looked under all the parked cars, walked down all the streets in our neighborhood, except for the street that we had carefully avoided since October. When we got home, Eamonn decided he was going to have posters printed to hang up all over the neighborhood.

It was clear what was going through his mind as well as mine and Sander’s. ‘I don’t think I can handle losing another member of the family,’ he said quite frankly as well as thinking that, ‘Maybe Bodhi is looking for Mom.’

This is the sum of anxiety and mortality, I realized when I saw the panic in Eamonn’s eyes. As the printer was busy spitting out twenty posters and Eamonn was putting on his shoes and coat, we suddenly heard a clear ‘meow’ on the other side of the front door. We both yelled his name. ‘Bodhi!’

Never before had I been so glad to see the annoying Siamese feline. The animal was oblivious to our concern and immediately demanded a bowl of food at the top of his voice which immediately arrived with a bit extra – just this once.

My libido? Thanks for asking

MONDAY, January 18 – Didn’t get too much sleep. I had dinner with F and it was a bit of a late evening.  It was fun, nothing improper. Woke up just before six, masturbating. The sexual urges have been subdued lately. I’m not as emotionally randy as during the first month, when I often fantasized about my sex life with Jennifer.

After that, I’d been semi-impotent for a while. Titillation had no effect on me – no hard-ons, despite my best efforts. Even now the old libido hasn’t bounced back, although in my more imaginative moments I think about my return to a great sex life in the future. New partners. That alone evokes interesting prospects.

Not long ago M and I drew up a list of potential bedfellows. She was on the list herself, I told her with a grin. I’ve already spent pleasurable evenings with a number of Jenn’s girlfriends that were no more than good conversations, full of warmth. That sort of thing is bound to lead to a pleasurable session of heavy petting.

I can’t help wondering how women ‘function’ in this respect. They’re less focused on the sex itself, I’m guessing. Must admit I’m a bit out of practice when it comes to pursuit, seduction, and conquest. For the time being I’ll make do with a bit of perfunctory masturbation.

Even that isn’t always a great success, due to chronic fatigue. But after a lonely ejaculation, my yearning for the body of a woman continues to increase, and I see this as a good sign at the beginning of a new week.

Mom & Mother of all remotes

remoteSUNDAY, January 17 – We often talk about Jennifer. The conversation is usually light-hearted.  What would Mom have thought about this or that? Or, how would she have felt? Like this afternoon, driving back from the mall where Eamonn had pointed out the Logitech Harmony, the mother of all remote control devices.

It would replace all four remotes we had in the house, but that was reflected in the price, an absurd 150 euros. Sander pointed out that it was still much cheaper than the tablet version which weighed in at  450 euros. As a gadget freak, I felt myself weakening in the face of their arguments, but we began to speculate on how Jennifer would have felt about this purchase.

Eamonn:  ‘She would have been against it.’

Sander:  ‘She’d say that it was Papa’s department.’

Me:  ‘She would have been mad.’

Eamonn: ‘Yeah, but later on she’d have used it herself and then she would have said, “Actually it’s a pretty handy gadget to have around”.’

Then all three of us burst out laughing.

It occurred to me that I’d already made quite a number of purchases. Apparently, the consumption machine rolls on unnoticed. Clothes, for instance. I’m wearing a completely new outfit, which I bought without Jennifer. I’m shopping on my own.

A new winter coat, a couple of pairs of jeans, boots, hiking shoes. Sweaters.  A new coffee maker, new furniture for the guestroom. In a material sense, life goes on.  It leaves me cold. Admittedly, it all feels a bit strange.

So what have we learned?

SATURDAY, January 16 – I resolved to learn from yesterday’s lesson. The first baseball practice of the season and Eamonn displayed little to no enthusiasm.  If skating with his mother proved to be so emotional for him, then baseball probably wouldn’t fare much better. As the time to leave drew closer, his dilly-dallying spoke volumes.

After breakfast I called him over and started to talk about yesterday and  how it was clear that skating without Mom was difficult for him. I tried to create a link to baseball, but Eamonn interrupted me. He was more direct:  ‘What are you trying to tell me, Papa?’

‘What I’m trying to tell you, Eamonn, is that we’re going to skip the first baseball practice.’  This was followed by a hug and a kiss on the cheek. All of a sudden he was cheerful again and his high spirits continued the rest of the day. We decided to watch Avatar .

‘The best movie of my whole life,’ he proclaimed.

‘My whole life,’ echoed in my head.

Screaming on thin ice

skatingFRIDAY, January 15 – I’m angry with myself. I should have known, should have seen it coming.  Damn it, how dumb can you be? Last week Eamonn came home from skating lessons spitting fire. The instructor was way too strict, plus his leg was bothering him. ‘You know what,’ I said this morning, ‘I think I’ll go with you.’

So I went along on the school bus, as a volunteer. I simply couldn’t understand why he didn’t enjoy the skating. There were only four Friday trips to the ice rink and it would be a shame if he missed out on the fun just  because of a strict coach or  his leg. It didn’t make sense. When we got there, I helped the kids with trying on the skates and tying their shoelaces, including Eamonn.

He was out on the ice for a total of thirty seconds. His leg hurt too much and he looked as if he was about to burst into tears. Convinced that he was grossly exaggerating, I loosened his shoelaces and sent him off again, but he refused to go. I tried mild persuasion. No luck. When I ordered him back onto the ice, he totally ignored me. Read more…

‘Ever since your mom died…’

THURSDAY, January 14 – Sander told me on the phone that there’d been an incident at school – that it was something we should talk about tonight. When I got home he said it had all blown over and wasn’t worth discussing any longer.

I insisted. It seems that in English class he’d maintained that poetry was an absolute waste and a couple of classmates had given him a hard time about that statement. Then, a friend of his turned around and said in a loud voice, ‘There’s been a noticeable change in your attitude since your mother died’. At that point , according to Sander himself, he stood up, shouted that he’d had enough, and left the classroom.  He then spent a couple of hours in the office with one of the secretaries.

The friend in question apologized shortly afterwards and that was, apparently, the end of the affair.  Sander and I talked about what had happened to me. I told him that someone had commented on my shallow complexion, and that people often talk a lot of crap.

We agreed that we’ll  have to find a way to deal with things like this since that’s the only way we can get on with life. I also began to wonder whether the change in Sander’s behavior is not only due  to the mourning process, but also to the onset of puberty. At this stage it’s hard to distinguish between them.  No doubt they’re running parallel, influencing each other for better or for worse.

Finally, some really good news

WEDNESDAY, January 13 – Around 3:30 this afternoon Sander called me in the car.

‘I have good news, Papa!’

‘Great, what is it?’

He starts to tell me about a kind of light switch for a project he was working on. I don’t have a clue what he’s going on about, but I can tell he’s really, really happy. Then, Eamonn comes on the line.

‘I have good news too, Papa!’

‘Great, Eamonn, ‘what is it?’

‘No, no. I’ll tell you when you get home.’ When I walk in the door, he shows me the award he got that morning at school:  Student of the Month for Commitment and Perseverance. It’s right there, in black and white, on a pre-printed diploma.

I make a grand moment of it all and praise him enthusiastically. I can see that he’s proud and enjoys my showering him with compliments. Two happy boys and a contented father who then receives a phone call from the foreman informing us that the contractor has accepted our offer for the renovation of the new house. It was a wonderful day. A day to cherish.

Men are men. Hello, sex

TUESDAY, January 12 – According to my colleague, herself a widow, more women than men write about the loss of their partner because: ‘Men are much quicker to find themselves a new sex partner.’ Does this mean that I should stop everything and do what is expected of me ‘as a man’?

Being both ambitious and pushy, should I rather focus on two goals at the same time: writing and screwing?  Why the hell not?  Hmmm… it remains to be seen whether I’m up to it since a certain tendency towards impotence has made itself felt this week.  It takes jerking off endlessly, perhaps, suggesting a teensy ejaculation dip. Is this yet something else that mourning does to you?

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