In my vast experience as a widow J – I have come to realise that there are a few common misconceptions people have about a person who lost her husband. Let me clear these up for you quickly…
1. I lost my husband, not my mind. I can still think for myself. I still have common sense, I have knowledge I haven’t even used yet. I am not feeble-minded, dim-witted, less intelligent or in the least dumb just because I don’t have a husband. I have not suddenly become less clever and I can still see through bullshit just as quickly as I did before my brain apparently left.
Guys, let’s be serious for a minute. Just because Johan hopped off the twig does not mean he took my brain with him. It merely means that I have to come to rational decisions on my own. It’s not always easy, but when I think back over the last 30 years, I have a pretty good idea what views he would have had on certain issue, and he was opinionated, make no mistake, so I make my decisions based on that which I know about him and me.
2. I am still quite capable of making money decisions. I don’t need every single “financial advisor” who got my telephone number from Dove’s undertakers to tell me that for someone now “single and old,” my money matters looks grim. Thanks for the enlightenment, but I can read a bank statement, thanks. I am great at saving and make provision for my unclear future, provided I have enough money, which I don’t. I know that financial planning now, before I get decrepit, would be a marvellous idea, but if you don’t have finances, planning is a moot point. If you don’t have money, even you, dear total stranger on the other side of the phone, can’t manage it.
3. Cars are not an enigma after all. Either they run or they don’t. I know what my car should sound like and I know when she does not sound the way she should. I know the difference between a petrol cap and a hub cap and I really know the difference between a wheel alignment and wheel balancing. Lord, help me! When one more man tells me to “ask your husband, he’ll tell you” – I will puke on his shoes. Speak to me. Tell me. I will decide on a course of action. He left me with enough knowledge on the subject to make clear and informed decisions. Otherwise – Mr Google is only 1 click away!
4. No, I am not alone enough for a new relationship, and no, we cannot “do coffee.” I hate it when people try to hide behind euphemisms. I am a strong, hard headed, bitchy, half Irish, very intelligent woman who will tell you exactly what I do and don’t need….
5. A man is the only human who knows how the inside of a garage works. Now there is a load of crap if ever I heard it. My father, bless his heart, made very sure his girls knew the difference between a no 10 spanner and a hammer. He did it by lovingly teaching us how a drill worked, how to fix a plug and exactly what to do when the power goes off unexpectedly. Why it is automatically assumed that I don’t know what the inside of a toolbox looks like, I don’t know. If I tell you I need a large screwdriver – flat, that is what I mean. Not star. Flat. And large!
And then, my pet hate…
6. The “just name it, we will be help you with anything” crowd. Most of those are paying you lip service girls. The amount of people who will REALLY be there when you need them, can be counted on one hand. The crowd at the Church door promising “whatever you need, just call me” generally don’t know what else to say. They have been agonising over the funeral for days, came up with the first cliché they could think of, and without thinking, sprouted it. Generally, when you do call on them for help, you get a brush off or a story. Not worth fretting over. God will always provide, just stand strong and believe!
There are a few genuine, awesome, loving folks who you can count on to lift your spirits, help you out; be there for a good cry or a mad laugh. The rest, they disappear like mist. Hold onto the special ones, the “always available” crowd. They are priceless.
I really take exception to the fact that people have this notion that widows are helpless and brainless. That we cannot function without a penis in the house. It is an unnecessary assumption which just frustrates the living daylights out of me. I am quite capable of changing a lightbulb, fixing a fuse or switching the electricity back on. Between my Dad and Johan they made sure that I knew what to do.
Thank you kindly sir, but I really don’t want to see any of your etchings…
I can open a bottle of red on my own and I know exactly where to switch on the generator and how to change the gas bottle.
I lost my husband – not my mind!