Grief

Why I’m proud of my late wife

Some people call suicide the coward’s way out.  They say it’s selfish.  They say those people go straight to hell. I say they don’t have a bloody clue and how dare they fucking judge.  My wife was brave.  My wife was bursting with love.  My wife has proven she is watching over me from heaven. She hung herself two years ago today, around about this hour of me posting this entry.

This blog has mainly been about me and my relationship with grief (and with other women).  On this significant date, I think it’s about time to celebrate how wonderful my wife was and her many achievements.  I don’t want to focus on the traumatic details of how she died.  Just like being a widow doesn’t define me, dying by suicide doesn’t define her. She was a walking, talking, bundle of ridiculous energy and I miss her to pieces. I want to remember the love between us and the love she spread.

I wasn’t allowed to speak at my wife’s funeral.  She didn’t get a proper eulogy.  Can you imagine? I was kept in the shadows – her parents didn’t want any mention of the whole gay thing.  They were ashamed of her.  I was too traumatised and distraught at the time to do anything about it.  With the exception of the comedy popped-up crooner version of Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas (her favourite song with the hilarious opening line, ‘you think that I’m an ignorant savage‘) piping through the crematorium speakers, her funeral failed to reflect who she was.  Somebody read some shitty poem of no significance.  So let me tell you now why I’m proud of my wife.  She deserves that recognition and I hope you’ll read on even though she is a stranger to you.

My wife squeezed in a heck of a lot into her 26 years.  Learning, friends, travel, laughter.  She was a whirlwind of energy and total attention hogger.  People who never knew my wife find it hard to believe she was an even bigger personality than me.  She was the centre of the party and had a flock of gay boys who’d follow her around as if she were their leader (plus a trophy wife, of course).  Wife had fabulous short, blonde hair that made her stand out – people would stop her in the street to comment on it.  She wore vicious pointed killer stilettos and walked in a confident way that said ‘I’m sexy and I know it, and I’m a big lesbian.’  I fell in love with her on our first date.  She oozed energy.

Her mind was so sharp in many ways, and underdeveloped in others. She was a whizz with a spreadsheet and economic theory, but could rarely express or process her core emotions.  Everything was black and white.  There was no grey.  She was right, or she charmed people to get her way.

Wife grew up in the middle of the countryside, the youngest of three children in a well-off family.  Her parents called her the mistake (pretty sure that scarred her) because her mother was forty when she gave birth.  What a happy mistake she was though as she was a golden child – cute (despite wearing hilarious eighties carpet trousers), mischievous (she once coloured the cat with felt tip pens) a straight A student (apart from the C in German that she’d omit from her CV), a philosophy, politics and economics Oxford graduate, a half-blue for javelin, gay rep for college, and a smarty pants whose wit was totally wasted on chartered accountancy.  She was a dream and really fucking excellent at stuff.  She couldn’t, however, sing for toffee.  I never thought I’d fall in love with someone who couldn’t sing, because it is such a big part of my life.  She was too shy to sing Christmas carols in church, but never too shy to drunkenly belt out that Pocahontas song whilst with the balcony door flung open.  Our poor next-door neighbours.

She'd be proud to have this on the internet (I hope)

She’d be proud to have this bikini shot on the internet (I hope)

Wife was hot in public, a mismatching slob at home.  We looked great together as a couple and I loved having her on my arm! Yes – I’m vain, ok?!  She loved Lancôme make-up.  She loved perfumes. When I catch a whiff of one of her favourites nowadays, I end up bawling.  She had a thing for pretty underwear sets, but still clung onto two pairs of truly hideous greying cotton period knickers because she hated parting with old things that she found comfortable.  She had ‘dog outfits’ for wearing when she’d go back to her parents’, in which she’d let her most adored pet, descriptively named Little Dog, jump about and slobber all over her face.  It was totally disgusting and I’d refuse to kiss her until she’d washed.

Closest to her, and her most prized comfortable chattel was a cuddly toy fox, Basil.  He held all her secrets and heard her last words.  He was cremated with her for company – something I now regret because I wish I had him to tell my secrets to also because he knew her so well.  Weird, I know.

Wife was a fabulous hostess who’d never scrimp on the booze for fear of being judged as being stingey.  It was always Bombay Sapphire, not Beefeater.  Stoli, not Smirnoff.  She’d stock up in duty free on the way home from our many travels. And travel a lot she did.  There was rarely a time when wife wasn’t planning a trip away. I can’t possibly document all the countries she visited.  Her walking boots are well worn and I smile when I now pack my things in her travel backpack when I go on my own adventures.  She travelled to the Galápagos Islands and watched whales breaching in the ocean and walked the Inca Trail in Peru.  She ordered coconuts instead of Coca Cola in Venezuela and raw beef in Monaco because she was typically British and didn’t want to ask when she didn’t understand the menu.  She got starkers in spa baths in Japan and told me all about Japanese women’s pubic hair grooming routines.  We camped in Malaysian Borneo and saw orangutans shagging. She pulled a leech off my back in the jungle as we waited to watch the bat exodus at dusk in Mulu National Park.  She lied about how much money it cost to get a permit to spend an hour with gorillas in the mist in Rwanda, and cried like a baby at the Genocide War Memorial.   She cunningly planned a crack of dawn 5am marriage proposal overlooking the city walls of Tallinn in Estonia for when I was too tired to realise what the heck was going on.  The sunny May day we married, she toasted herself as ‘the most beautiful bride in the world’. She was hilariously ridiculous.

I am so proud of her.  I miss that woman.  She may have caused the most spectacular hurt, but she gave me the most spectacular, hilarious and loving memories too.  They are ones which I cherish and form part of me – the Eerily Cheerily widow, who keeps marching onward.

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22 thoughts on “Why I’m proud of my late wife

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, and I thank you kindly for sharing stories of her and your lives together , I draw inspiration from you, and find a strange sense of peace in your words.

    again thank you so very much

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  2. I read, I smiled, and I even teared up at some points. My late husband’s little sister is a lesbian “mistake.” I wish your story ended more like hers. My late husband’s family slowly turned around and embraced her lifestyle and her girlfriends. As far as I know, she has yet to marry. There ARE accepting parents, and I’m so sorry your wife didn’t get what all people deserve, which is to be eulogized for who they really are, and not what somebody wanted them to be. MEAN PARENTS SUCK. Oh, I’m 58 years old!

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    • Thank you for sharing this with me. I am ashamed of my in laws at their disrespect for their daughter (and for me) by covering who she was. I know that somewhere out there are a new set of in laws waiting to embrace me and my next wife for our authentic selves. I can’t wait to find them!

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  3. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
    Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
    A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
    Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
    Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
    Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
    Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
    Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
    From our dark spirits.

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    • Endymion falls in love with a goddess. He pursues her – unsuccessfully – with the help of a mortal woman. He finally accepts his mortality, to love the mortal woman – who turns out to be the goddess in disguise. It’s a meditation on your themes: mortality and immortality, ideal love and real love.

      I thought of it immediately on reading your post. I didn’t realize just how apt the opening stanza is, until I re-read it. Not only that your wife will be a joy to you forever, not only that she will keep a bower quiet for you, but that she binds you to life, in spite of despondence, the inhuman dearth of noble natures – in your former friends and in-laws – and your gloomy days.

      “yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an amazing tribute to a very special person! I’m so sorry for your loss. People have know idea how bad depression can be. There were so many days the pain was so bad, I would’ve done anything to make it stop. If not for my parents and a great doctor, I would not be here. Hugs to you xo.

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  5. I believe I may have fallen in love with your wife too after reading your words. My husband was humble yet larger than life. I always thought “what the hell does he see in me?”

    Just by reading your blog I’m fairly certain I understand what your wife saw in you. Aren’t we lucky to have known them and had them in our lives, even if for a brief time.

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