Widower at Trader Joe


Bunny and Teddy signing the wedding registry in 1982, Our bridesmaid and best man married each other and are still together.

Last night I had endless horrible nightmares. This was because I accidentally noticed a job advertised that was perfect for me. It was a low wage but had excellent benefits. There were two problems – it was full-time and in downtown Houston which is about 40 miles away in frenetic driving conditions. Nevertheless, I was thinking seriously about it after I had investigated the cost of health care. I know exactly what my psychiatrist would have said – Noooooo!

So, before we went to bed we had a normal marital fracas. I thought he was already in the master bathroom but he had gone to pick up his notebook in the study. As I had turned all the lights off, he accidentally kicked our very sensitive baby cat in the dark. He blamed me, I started fecking about how stupid he was and we went to bed in bad humor with baby cat sleeping under the spare bed. I was so angry and wanted to go sleep with baby cat in the spare bedroom but knew that Teddy would have been so upset.

The nightmare was a variation on a recurring dream. As usual, I had not completed my equivalent of an Associate’s degree and was struggling to sit the final exam with one day’s notice. In reality I passed it all (in 1980) with no problem whatsoever and have endless other useless qualifications and experience (counselling skills, training for trainers, blah, blah). I woke up terrified at 6 am, worried that I was not going to have a business major and there would be a zombie apocalypse. I ran into the living room where Teddy was starting to feed the cats and ran into his arms. He asked me what was wrong but I was too traumatized to have words yet. He apologized for being grumpy the night before and life went back to some kind of normal.

Then I met with some other volunteers for our regular lunch and life was put back into perspective with someone else’s ill health. On the return journeyย an 18 wheeler truck tried to take me out on the interstate and yet again perspective was realized. I knew in that moment that someone who was made anxious by lunch, had neuropathy after a 45 minute drive for something pleasant, in slow traffic, could never manage a downtown job with a 2 hour drive both ways.

I asked Teddy if he would like to go to Chilli’s for a meal so we went this evening and had a lovely time discussing when we wanted to die. At the moment, 75 is my limit and I really mean that. He worried that his middle-aged forgetfulness was early onset Alzheimer’s and I reassured him that I would ‘take him out’. After that he wanted some chocolate so we went to Trader Joe’s. We stocked up on cheap wine, Peruvian giant corn and chocolate and went to the till. Our sales assistant, Ricardo, was new to me – I know everyone there.

Teddy attempted to pay the old way with a swipe of the credit card but Trader Joe isย all set up for the chip, so you have to insert it. I tutted at his inexperience and explained to Ricardo that he wasn’t used to shopping, with a laugh. Ricardo asked how long we had been married and I told him 33 years. He remarked that we had an easy way with each other that only long married couples had. I asked him how long he had been married and he said, “She passed after 30 years”. My eyes filled with tears and we chatted about whether he was ready to meet someone else. Of course, I offered to find him someone and told him he was very handsome. When we left the store I nearly fell apart with the sadness of that and once again I realized how very lucky I was. ย Count your blessings.

44 thoughts on “Widower at Trader Joe

  1. Thanks for sharing that story. I’m sorry you had a nightmare, and for the circumstances that led to it. If it makes you feel any better (by laughing at me) I have a story to tell you. This is in no way meant as a “I can top your story” type of thing. I respect your experience.

    Years and years ago, my wife was sick. I forget what the situation was, but I know it included nausea . I was home, she wasn’t feeling well, I put her in bed, turned out the lights so she could rest. I’m used to moving around the house in the dark because I get up super early and don’t want to wake anyone.

    I was downstairs, and heard her calling for me (I did have lights on downstairs, I’m not a vampire, or Batman) and I came up the stairs into the dark upper floor. I knew how to maneuver through our dark bedroom and was heading to her side of the bed to see what I could do for her.

    And I kicked her in the head. She was laying on the floor.

    She had got up to go to the bathroom (in the dark) had some vertigo, and laid down. Then had called for me. Not expecting me to stroll in through the dark to kick her in the head. Like a bull or something.

    So, she was mad at me, and even though I didn’t necessarily feel it was entirely my fault (because I was keeping things dark so she could rest…) I pretty much owned up to her situation, because she was already miserable from being sick, I couldn’t expect her to have her mood improved.

    Anyway, it sounds less funny when I typed it out. I think I tell it more funny in person. Let me try my delivery…

    “So I rolled on into the bedroom, because I know the layout, yo. I’m like Daredevil. And BOOM. I kicked Lisa in the head.

    Ooops. My bad.”

    (I still feel bad about that… she did forgive me though.)

    Anyway, I hope you have pleasant dreams tonight.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Jane. I am normally pragmatic and sensible, even in the menopause, but losing my mother in law and jet lag has just tipped me over the edge a little. I have a menopausal colleague who cries at the drop of a hat…:)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Count your blessings and Carpe Diem! I also got married in ’82 but it didn’t last. Odd to think we’d have been married that long if it had. Mind you, he died in 2014, so I’d have had to cope with that and his Alzheimers and cancer. His widow was magnificent dealing with it all and we’ve had several crying sessions together. Don’t forget to count the blessings one by one!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved this post – from causing the startling of Baby Cat to comforting a widower it laughs and loves its way through a day – spiralling into irrational solutions but still being empathetic enough to notice another’s plight and actively trying to help. That’s you honey and it’s ALL good ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh thank you, Osyth! Baby cat is a 12 year old fat pudding but nonetheless she is our baby. You know, our marriage has had some serious ups and downs but we weathered them. It helps when you come from a culture where it is unacceptable to divorce – and perhaps, more realistically, that we realize we rely on each other for so much. Love is the icing on the cake.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Love does ice the bun and when we find it we should nurture it and protect it if we are being idealistic. But you are right – the strongest relationships weather storms and have eyes open to the fact that the one supports the other whilst the other supports the one. I love fat cats. Fact!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That image has me chortling and snorting in a very unfeminine way …. I used to have two sister cats called Bunty and Bowlie but always referred to as Fat Cat and Thin Cat … Fat Cat was not at all fat really just what my husband would refer to as ‘an interesting shape’ – the last time he used those words he was referring to a policewoman with a very large rear in Folkestone. I walked the other way …

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Lovely writing Kerry and I like it that it always comes attached with your special brand of black humour. Also like the idea of a romantic date night discussing when (and how) I want to die ๐Ÿ™‚
    great picture and eighties hair, so you are a brunette after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gee you touched on several topics of interest here the main ones being zombie apocalypse and “take him out”. I’ve only recently jumped on the zombie bandwagon by watching all Walking Dead episodes before the start of season 6 and for the life of me I couldn’t understand it because I’m way past getting excited over the horror genre because frankly it scares me now but this series sucked me in. And if that weren’t bad enough I moved on to Supernatural but that’s another story. Your death conversation with your hubby reminded me of a similar conversation I had with my sons when they were young. It went something like this: “um, do me a favor, when I get to the point where I’m like a babbling idiot please, please, please take me out into a field and shoot me.” Well now it seems I’m well past my expiration date and I’ve tried to renege on the agreement but they keep going back to the original conversation – geez. And now that whole “I brought you into this world I can take you out” deal just doesn’t seem to have the same impact that it did when they were young. tsk tsk. Good post although I don’ t wish nightmares on anyone especially if they involve a zombie apocalypse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Supernatural too, pathos, humor and horror. On a more serious note, my mother in law, who recently died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s had asked my husband to ‘not let her suffer’. The most we could do for her in her 18 year battle was have a ‘do not resuscitate’ order in the last few years. It was torture for us because we couldn’t just shove her over a cliff (or could we…?) ๐Ÿ™‚ If I had children I would have a bullet pointed list of various scenarios. Send me to a home in Oregon and euthanize me if appropriate. Take for a walk in the desert and ‘lose’ me. Make sure I didn’t get the flu vaccine…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alzheimer’s is such an insidious disease. My grandmother died from it a number of years ago and it was very difficult to watch her steadily decline. My mother who is physically disabled also has dementia and because of the fear she has of Alzheimer’s refused to get tested years ago and now she’s practically “out to lunch” most of the time and it could have at least been delayed if she would have allowed her dr. to adjust her meds but driven by fear has now placed her in the very situation she didn’t want to be in. Now my uncle (by marriage) has the disease and he is a shell of the person he used to be and it breaks my heart. My kids can be idiots albeit lovable ones (at times) but they absolutely refuse to talk about death and it’s so aggravating. I mean I have to have everything planned but they’d rather stick their heads in the sand. I’m not sure I’d like the getting lost in the desert thing (hate the extreme heat almost as much as I hate extreme cold) but the other scenarios are rather appealing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so sorry about your mom and uncle. It is our version of the zombie apocalypse – seriously. It seems endemic and I don’t know one family unaffected by dementia. Write down what you want and leave it with the lawyer or in a tidy pile of things they will need – social security, birth certificate, insurance policies. My mum left it all in a lovely neat little bundle – ready to go!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I don’t know maybe it’s because I’m female and was solely responsible for them that I felt totally different and needed to ensure that they would be taken care of. My youngest son (26) has a 3 year old and he doesn’t even want to discuss life insurance which in my opinion is selfish.

        Liked by 1 person

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