Diary of a Widower

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

Moving house is a new ending

FRIDAY, April 23 – The worst thing about moving, Sander said to the psychologist this afternoon, is that pretty soon we’re going to be leaving an apartment that was furnished almost entirely by Mom. She knew exactly how she wanted it. The new house is great, but it’ll be furnished by us, instead of by Mom and that is really sad.

I contemplate all this around five in the afternoon as I sit down in a chair on the tiny balcony. Our new house has two big balconies providing more than enough sun to sit outside at the end of the day. Admittedly, without Jennifer.  But isn’t that the whole idea behind the ‘new start’, as well-meaning friends tell us?  Jenn often sat outside on this postage-stamp balcony, reading, or writing in her diary.  She wore sunglasses against the glare of the setting sun and – just as now – Bodhi the cat was usually close by.  Inquisitively he followed what was happening on the ground or on the adjoining porch.  Sometimes, he lay innocently on her lap or at her feet.

Worn and faded Tibetan prayer flags hang from the railing.  There’s not much left of them, but that’s as it should be. Air, wind, fire, water, earth:  corresponding colors, blue, white, red, green and yellow.  According to Tibetan tradition, these flags must be handled with respect by replacing them with new ones and burning the old. I don’t see myself doing that. They’ll end up hanging on our future balcony. Or is that tempting the evil spirits?

I find the carrier straps for my bike that I had searched for in vain a while back.  Jenn had appropriated them to hang two planters. Tomatoes, peppers and assorted herbs… now hopelessly wilted in parched soil.  My head slowly falls back, resting against the wall. I close my eyes and listen to a whiney child in the distance. A passing wasp alights briefly and then continues his journey, presumably in good spirits.

I cannot deny that my mood is something akin to bliss. At this moment precisely six months ago, I took Eamonn on my right knee, put my arm around Sander’s shoulders and told them that Mom was not going to wake up. The cat meows. It’s dinner time.

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