“Marital Status: WIDOW.” Just writing that word on a Canada Passport form startled me. It’s not that I don’t know that I’m a widow. My husband (and publishing business partner) Al Driver passed away on January 4th after a four-month struggle with colon cancer (see blog post). So I know I am a widow. I just haven’t used the word very much yet.
And I’ve always found “widow” to be one of the saddest words in the English language.
“Widow” means that the person using it has lost someone very dear to them. Someone they most likely loved deeply. Someone who shared a large part of their everyday life – otherwise they would be writing “single”, “separated” or “divorced” on that form – although I imagine each of those words conjures up a whole set of emotions in the writer too.
What “widow” reminded me of was the 42 years I spent with this man – the love of my life. And how much I miss him and the times we shared.
Al and I met in college, taking journalism courses in Alberta. We have been together since I was 17 and he was 18.
In December, a couple of days after we found out that Al’s tumour was inoperable, I told him that what he said to me in November was right – we have had a wonderful run together. They have been great years – except for the times when he was a pain in the ass, I told him.
Al laughed and replied, “So what does that total then? Two good years?”
I laughed and said, “No. Forty. Counting the times I was a pain in the ass too.”
It was uncharacteristic of me to say “ass” because I don’t like that word, but you say words you detest when someone you love is dying. You freakin’ hate what is happening at that point and saying words that are harsher than your normal language somehow helps.
So here I am – a new widow. Trying to figure out a new, changed, daily life without the person I loved most in this world.
Filling out a form so I can travel is a good step. It means there is life after death – for my wounded soul.
It means I still have purpose on this earth. Being invited to go to Chicago to Book Expo America for my publishing company is part of that purpose.
One step at a time, one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time ... I’ll figure out this “widow” thing.
Maybe I’ll think of my now-adult children and my three little grandsons the next time I hear or have to write that word and I’ll remember how they used to pronounce the word “little” when they were young.
And I’ll think of myself as a “widow” publisher on the Prairies.
|I would have smiled, but it's the passport office!|
Smiling is not allowed here. Looking less than glum
is the best I could do in my out-of-focus selfie. Ha ha!
P.S. If you live in Canada, note that your passport may not be valid for international travel if it expires within six months of your travel date. The Canada Passport website says, "Your passport may have to be valid for up to six months after the date you enter the country you will be visiting. " Check details under the "Travel Advice and Passport Validity" section on this page. My sister told me of this change in rules for travel to the U.S. The Passport official told me about a man who arrived at their office with his plane ticket in hand after being turned away at the airport. So check your passport expiry date well before you plan a trip out of the country!