arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Morning Post, Vol. 3, #29 A Breakfast Out

 When we first relocated to what we considered our home turf Anne Marie and I would make a point of having breakfast out on Sunday mornings.  At that time there were 4 diners and a chain restaurant nearby waiting to fill us with Happy Juice and whatever cholesterol laden goodies they offered.  Times and the economy changed.  The diners closed one by one for a variety of reasons,  but the chain restaurant survives.  

I went to this restaurant on my late day this week as part of my effort to get out and break the constricting feeling that I can't do the things we used to do just because she is gone.  We've always had good food here in the past,  but this time the service was a little slower than in the past.  To be fair it was a weekday when they would not schedule a full crew to work.  This time though there was a sign on the door letting customers know that they,  like many other businesses in the pandemic,  are having staffing issues. Wait times for service may be longer than usual.  I was warned and entered anyway.

The one hostess on duty was very friendly and did everything she could to accommodate  the four or five parties in there at the time.  It took awhile for me to get a cup of coffee,  but otherwise I had time to spare and observed the others in the dining room.

There were two ladies, I would estimate at least middle-aged, at the next booth.  They were having a lively conversation and there were a few laughs shared between them.  In the past Anne Marie would have been sitting opposite me and able to hear every word of their conversation if she was not engaged in a conversation with me.  If the conversation was interesting she would whisper to me what the talk was about.  This day the seat was empty, and there were no whispers.  

A young family of four came in later and sat at another booth on the other side of the room.  The older child seemed quiet, but his younger sibling had more energy then he/she knew what to do with and kept up a barrage of chatter.  The mother spoke to the child a few times about his noise, but after all was said and done,  the child wasn't behaving that badly.  Anne Marie and I had seen worse in our lives.

I must admit I was a bit envious of the family and their ability to maintain order with their brood.  Had Anne Marie and I possessed the emotional and psychological maturity to have our own children things would be quite different now.  I might have one near adult son or daughter at this point to be helped and help me through these times. Alas,  we decided very early on in our relationship that we were not cut out to be parents for humans.  Cats, okay.  Humans no.

An older couple came in while I ate my breakfast.  The man was tall and seemed to be reasonably healthy.  His wife was smaller, thin, gaunt and accompanied by an oxygen tank.  I saw her and somehow knew that was how Anne Marie would have ended up if she had lived.  She was asthmatic as long as I knew her,  and had to swallow a dose of cough syrup whenever she would have a mild attack.   For stronger attacks she would puff on an inhaler.   

The sight of the older couple put my current situation in perspective.  Certainly,  I would've liked to have had Anne Marie around longer than I did.  Yet I doubt very much either one of us would have wanted her to suffer this decline in her quality of life.  I would do my best to put on a brave face, but she was a smart woman.  She would know that we were both miserable at her decline. This would have made her suffering all the worse, knowing that I was not happy.  I am convinced that she devoted her life to my happiness.  And I was devoted to her every wish and whim....

This is my consolation that she went so fast. I was spared somewhat a long slow decline.   She did suffer a condition in the last few years, but we always thought that she would heal,  much like society is healing through the pandemic,  and things would be normal again someday.

I broke down briefly there in the restaurant;  the sight of the empty chair across the booth got to me a few times.  Still, my emotions were not loud enough to be heard over the two women laughing at the next booth,  the young child yammering on across the room,  or the quiet conversation between the elderly couple a few feet away.  I recovered, finished my meal and came home to work.  

I thought about this episode later and figured I will have more moments like this in the months to come.  I cannot fool myself: I know I  will have a number of low emotional points in the months to come, but I will have to overcome them.

All I have to do is learn how to climb....

(Thank you for reading.)

 

11 Comments:

Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

A very touching entry, Todd. I feel for you and your loss. Yet you are achieving insight and perspective about your grief, which must be comforting to a certain extent.

August 22, 2021 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Deedles said...

One step at a time, dear Todd. You'll get there. Massive, squishy hugs.

August 22, 2021 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger kent said...

your very wise i still have moments after 7 years but i soon realize that's what life's about. sharing, enjoying and remembering our loved ones that are no longer present but ever present in our souls

August 22, 2021 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger uptonking said...

Thank you for sharing your grieving process with us. It's interesting.... these glimpses we are afforded of the two of you. Wishing you great peace.

August 22, 2021 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I always say that it never gets better but it does get easier.
Grief is different for each of us and we get through it however we get through. Sadly, there is no manual for it.
Just keep getting up and doing what you do and remembering her.

August 22, 2021 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I thought this one of your most splendid posts.
Here is a quote I recently found; I hope you like it -

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

August 22, 2021 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

I will gladly fly up and have a meal at the restaurant with you. And I promise not to make a pass at you.

I always want to mention AM in a post but, in all the years I knew her on blogland she would give condolences once and never mention the sadness again. She was always positive and looking forward.

Like you, I miss her terribly. But I miss her for her sharp humor and ability to control the mood of the comments in a downer blog entry. She was one of a kind. For sure.

August 22, 2021 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Old Lurker said...

I think it is a good sign that you went out to the restaurant, even though it was painful.

August 23, 2021 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Debra. The perspective I realized was something I didn't expect to have.

Thank you, Deedles. I was thinking yesterday that I could use a hug.

Thank you, Kent. You described one of my other realizations perfectly.

Thank you, Upton for your well wishes.

Good advice, Bob. Thank you for your comment.

That is a wonderful quote, Spo. Thank you for sending it here.

Thank you Jimmy. I must remember to try for a more upbeat tone like she would do.

Thank you, Old Lurker. This process will take several months since there were a lot of restaurants we enjoyed going to,.

August 23, 2021 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger James Dwight Williamson said...

Todd, Just another admirer of Anne Marie and someone who respects you for the new unexpected journey you are on. In the short time I was exposed to AM , she was a giver, a lifter, a warrior for what’s right and a very loving person. She had a phenomenal memory or a great diary or address book. It would be impossible for you not to miss someone as loving and giving and fabulously eccentric as her. I’m an outsider- observer , but I am proud of you every day. I should hope to have someone love me as much as you loved AM. And honestly from her mentions it was obvious she loved you right back. Be at peace while you morn , I think the first year after any loss is the hardest. I wish you joy , when you are ready and in the meantime I wish you the strength and courage that has already manifested. You talking about her , makes me .Twice as happy because it proves to me she and you were everything I thought you were.

August 25, 2021 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Fearsome Beard said...

I may be late to this entry but send you a hug albeit a late one. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings and grief with us. I’m one of the blessed ones who got to see the two of you together. Love each other you did, and still do. She is with you even if you can’t see, hear or touch her.

September 6, 2021 at 9:24 PM  

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