Grief is Not Having a Spouse to Blame

I just had words with Joe as I ran upstairs and downstairs with a plunger.

“JOE! I did not plan to try to manage hearth, home, high school applications, and hounds without you!”

“I know,” he answered.

“I planned for you to be around so everything that never got done, did not work or was not put away, plus all bad decisions and our failures as parents, I could blame on YOU. It’s not fair!!”

It’s not like Joe was into home management when he was alive. He wasn’t. We lived with a dragon in our kitchen sink that roared and rumbled through our pipes, our bathroom was only completed after his father threatened him with a plumbing wrench, and things like toilets that did not flush, lack of water pressure, or squeaky doors just were not a priority to him. They were, however, my priority and that worked for both of us. These days, I have to hang onto “I don’t want to” and “I have to” at the same time. Emotionally, it’s draining.

Now when things don’t work, we are running late, the counters are sticky, the bed is unmade, the campers are barking, the refrigerator only holds little bottles of coke, I’m missing my favorite dog leash, I can’t find my keys or MY PHONE, I am mad as hell that I have no one to blame it all on.

Sure, I could blame some of it on Cole.  In general, it’s bad mothering to play the blame game with your kid, but everyone knows it is perfectly acceptable to blame your spouse. Oh sure, self-help gurus suggest against it, but well, they are dumb-asses. (I am learning to like this expressive word.)

“Joe,” I continued, “I need you to blow up, stomp around, swear loudly, and call ‘those people’ ‘those names’ so I can take the high road.  My road was always the high road. I was the nice one. The neat one. The on-time one. I need you to defend me so I can tell you to stop.  I need you to be hysterical about my car keys so I don’t have to be.  I was sane.  You were crazy. I was reasonable.  You were passionate. You said soccer. I said plumbing. You were fun. I was focused.  You cut.  I said get a plate. I was Go, and you were Stop, and together we were balanced.”

“Joe,” I said, “I am now all gollywampus and off-balance.”

“Katybeth, go ahead and blame it all, everything, on me for dying. I left you with the ultimate excuse, so you should thank me,” was Joe’s channeled reply.

“Joe!” I yelled back, “Don’t be a dumb-ass! It’s just not the same and you know it! And by the way, you damn well better be sweating that Loyola High School application.”

I think I heard a muttered reply, “That’s my best girl.”

Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!

14 thoughts on “Grief is Not Having a Spouse to Blame

  1. How true, but I know Joe is so very proud of all that you and Cole have accomplished. So for now, blame Ricky.

  2. Again your words just stop me in my shoes. I realize as soon as I complain about Jim not hanging the shelf that I am an even bigger loser than I realize. What are they stopping me from buying a drill and a how to book on dometic chores? No I am just lazy and I want to blame somebody and Jim is perfect because he is so damn sweet. “He shrugs his shoulders and says get rid of the stupid shelves you don’t need to put any stuff on them”! He hates a hole in the wall for any reason. He lives very nicely without being handy andy. Shame on me for being such a bee-otch! I will count my blessings that is what I will do! Thanks Katybeth I needed to read your blog about grief and blaming your spouse. It must be my hormones I’ve been crying all afternoon reading these entries.

    • Joe was handy…OMG so handy…which made it even worse that he just would not get stuff done. I take great pleasure in imagining him have deep regrets about not putting the baseboards back on after we tiled three years before he died! But I also have to admit not knowing that it all never gets done…and sometimes you just have to let it go. Hard for me.

  3. Wonderful! I love it. I think you do a far better job than you give yourself credit for, though. You make lists and you do the things on your list. I make mental lists, forget what is on them, and just say “I can’t” sometimes.
    You get to it! Most importantly, you are a great MOM and everything else really doesn’t matter on the grand scheme. Cole is a wonderful kiddo and you can pat yourself on the back for that, missy!

    • Thanks Stevie. I do put mothering first but when I can’t find my keys to get the kid to school and breakfast is a fast stop at Dunkin Donuts cause all we have are “little bottle of coke” and they don’t taste to good on old cereal. I wonder where the “other” more organized focused Katybeth went to live.

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  5. So true!! I just lost my husband in June 2011 and I am constantly blaming him for everything that has gone wrong since. My girls had been bugging us for the last year for another dog, we already have one, Ozzy the “King of Deer Antlers” he loves them so much, but my husband said NO!, so my girls figure that since Dad is gone, they deserve another dog. Well today we just became official puppy raisers for Canine Support Team and are a foster family for Red. As soon as she came into our home, she found Ozzy’s antlers and fell in love. Need to place another order QUICK!!!!

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