There are certain things unique to the relationship between a man and a woman- a husband and wife- that are therefore unique to the grief process one goes through as opposed to other kinds of losses. These have to do with the way in which a male and female complement each other, the intimacy between husband and wife, and the affirmation of one’s innate femininity.
You probably told me I looked pretty just about every day. When we first met, you played with my last name, Pirritano, changing it to pirritee. You’d say things like, “It’s a pirritee day.”
You always told me I looked prettiest in the mornings and you’d say that to me when I first woke up even when I felt exhausted and hideous, “You look pretty in the morning.”
Many times you’d complement me when I wasn’t feeling my best and I’d tell you that no, I didn’t look good and it didn’t matter what you said, because as a woman, I had to feel confident about myself. “Well, I think you’re beautiful,” you’d still say.
(…our heat just stopped and the sudden stoppage of air flow through the vent caused my closed bedroom door to move a bit. I imagined you really were turning the handle, coming in to surprise me and oh how happy I would be…)
You massaged my neck and the bottom of my head so well when I was tense- really saving me lots of trips to the physical therapist. I keep missing that with all of this tension- I keep thinking, “Oh, what I need is for Dan to just massage my neck and head. That always helps.”
Since you have died, I don’t think I’ve had too many men come over to comfort me or help…mostly it’s been women- who have been great. They cry with me and laugh with me…they love my daughter with me.
But the void is getting deeper and wider. I simply miss being held in your arms- a man’s arms. I miss my head on your shoulder- staring at your face so close on the pillow next to mine- holding your hand while we walked or sat, having your laid back masculine perspective on things to balance out my overly analytical take. I miss the way you sometimes wrestled with me or joked with me like a brother would, and I miss the way you sometimes scolded me like a father explaining to me that you would not stand for my tone or that I simply could not treat others like that just because I was stressed or upset.
Still, I find myself putting on eyeliner, curling my eyelashes, and trying to look my best- still for you. It’s like I’m waiting to hear it- you look pretty…but then I don’t. And I wonder if I will ever hear these words again…