It’s the quiet that sometimes bothers me the most.
When my mom became a widow, I noticed she had started keeping the television on all the time. Before my dad died, she was alone many hours a day while he worked two jobs, but she never had the television on during the day.
I now know how she felt. Before Dale died, I could come home from a long day working in the studio and begin to prepare dinner without ever turning on the television. Dale was gone long hours, 12-15 hours a day and walking into a quiet house never bothered me. I knew when he came home, there would be greetings and the television would be on for the rest of the evening while we ate.
Many widows and widowers say the nights are the worst; when they go to bed and remember the person they loved most in the world is gone.
Those are hard for me, too, but not as bad as the pang of loneliness I feel walking into a quiet house after a long day of work.
I know there will be no one to share my day with, or him me.
I know there will be no satisfaction in preparing a lovely meal that is appreciated by someone else.
I know there will be no sharing one of our favorite shows, or playfully arguing over watching baseball (I always won. Baseball is my favorite).
There will be no one to awaken when he’s fallen asleep in his chair.
It’s the quiet that I can’t quite adjust to, so I get up and turn on the news and then keep music playing all day. If I go over to my studio, I leave the music on so the quiet doesn’t assault me quite as violently when I walk through the door.
It doesn’t cure the quiet, but it softens it, giving me time to adjust to the idea of preparing a meal just for me. Realizing there’s no one with whom to share the remote.
Maybe that’s why the nights don’t bother me as much anymore. By the time I head into the bedroom, I’ve already softened the quiet.