Two Widows .. Now Equals

George Chapter 3 part 3: The Black Couch

Mar 14, 2011 by

I sat by the stack of RSVP’s for the wedding in June that would not take place. I stared at them a good long while before I picked them up and brought them over to the couch and began to alphabetize them. Normally I am not this anal retentive but, I thought it’d be easier to find their phone numbers and email addresses in my address book.

Slowly but surely I was done. Each card had a corresponding number or email address so I could begin contacting the folks who were kind enough to have responded early to the Save The Date and wedding invitations in the morning. Surprisingly a good number of them were from friends that lived out of town. I crashed on the couch embraced by the scent of him. I was so lethargic I did not even notice where I was the next morning when I heard a garbage truck at 730 am.

That next morning, I began, in earnest, contacting people who wanted to attend the celebration of our love in June. Here it was a cold March morning, the first call was a voicemail system for one of George’s college buddies and I could hear the playful sound of children in the background on the family greeting, “Hi, you’ve reached the Sandersons, Luke, Maria, Sophie and Paul are not in, so please leave a message!” And so I did, messages and emails and finally voices at the end of the phone.

When I began to explain that the wedding was not going to happen, some girlfriends responded with “Oh my god! Did you two break-up?”’ Then I had to go into detail about what had occurred. It wasn’t pretty. I felt like a telemarketer from hell who had to communicate to people that their life insurance was being canceled for no good reason. I was a good two-thirds of the way down the list and it was almost 2pm. It was a cold day but the sun was shining. I had opened a window or two in the house to let the sunshine in. I think I was in the bathroom when the doorbell rang.

It was Nancy and Ma Chang on her arm, they had brought from what I could tell a bag of oranges and another bag filled with Chinese food.  I was still in the clothes from the day before and had gently explained that I fell asleep on the couch again.

As they entered, Nancy said they would’ve called but they wanted to surprise me. I explained what I was doing and Nancy offered to help. I cautioned her about some of the responses and conveyed what I was saying. So, she began to make the calls for me and encouraged me to take a hot bath and change clothes.

As the phone calls stopped, and I dried off, I could hear the noise of someone in the kitchen preparing food and tea. I could hear from the bathroom and then the closet, their conversation in Chinese and wished I was more fluent. From my sense of things, I think they were on their own version of a suicide watch …  I was the one they were watching.

It was about 6 in the evening when Nancy and I sat directly across the table from one another and Ma Chang in the middle of us but to my left. This is significant because I was about to do something that would move both of them to an emotional state that was not expected.

For most of the meal we had all remained silent only to convey a demure thank you or sieh sieh when necessary. As the meal came to a close and the final cups of tea were poured, I began by communicating that I was deeply grateful and touched by their thoughtfulness and gracious kindness. And how amazingly lucky they were to have the type of family that stood in solidarity during a time like this.

Then I stated that I felt very fortunate to have George in my life for the time that I did and that I had come to the conclusion that I could no longer wear the family heirloom, his mother’s Burmese ruby engagement ring, on my left hand. I slowly removed it and placed it on Ma Chang’s left pinky finger (it was sized for me at George’s behest).

Nancy’s mouth dropped open and her eyes welled up with tears as she looked away from me. Ma Chang began to weep and rock slowly as she stared down at it. I wondered if she was weeping at the gesture or in remembrance of the time she first received it from her late husband. Then I realized we were two widows now and equals.

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About the Author

Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe Has Written 19 Articles For Us!

Dorothea is a senior strategic marketing executive, fluent in 4 languages, who specializes in developing new business for national and international brands via strategic partnerships and technology. She specializes in integrating social media into marketing strategies and understanding how to measure, optimize and build current new media efforts to increase value and develop strong relationships between consumers and brands
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  1. Rebecca Crichton

    Discovering what share across such big divides is always moving. I so appreciate reading about your journey. Rebecca

  2. Oh, my .. I remember how strange it was to have to tell people that my husband had died. Luckily, most of them had read the blog I kept, but sometimes people would ask me how he was. I never did find a soft way to say it.

  3. Dorothea – How amazingly lucky George’s family was to have *you* by their side during this time. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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