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Doing Hard Time

I read an article about prisons and prisoners once, and a warden said (paraphrasing) that there is only so much ‘hard time’ a prisoner can do.  Hard time is when they rail against the system, fight being there, scream for their loved ones, cry for their kids and past life.  After a while they settle down, and adjust and adapt.  And while they won’t ever ‘get over’ the past life, they adjust to the new one in their own way.

Some days, in some ways, I’m still doing hard time.

Some days I’m doing okay.  I always ache some, but I’m coping.   I sleep in ‘our’ bed, and sleep fairly well.   I managed to clean out his drawers and donate his clothes.  I sold his business and am still working on cleaning out his office.  I keep running across little present piles.  He would never use a present anyone gave him.  But he would stash them all in little piles and put them away.  Some I’ll use, some I’m giving to the kids, some donating.  But it amuses me.  Not sure what you were saving them for, Babe!

Mowing yesterday, I caught a glimpse of something out the corner of my eye, and thought it was him, standing there watching me like he used to do.   Fist squeezed hard on my heart.

I look around,  see how things have changed in three months.   Three months today.  It seems like no time and eons.  And truly, mostly, it still doesn’t seem real.  I see the cat running around here, the cat he told me I couldn’t have and smile, thinking he’s going to have a fit.

I look at the swing set he didn’t want to mow around and think how much he would have enjoyed sitting on the patio watching the boys play on it.   Griping the entire time about it, but enjoying in his way.

He wasn’t an easy person.  We had many many hard times.  Just like the little girl with a curl, when he was bad he was horrid.  And I’m quite certain I’m not always a joy, and very challenging in my own way.   But, like I told his mother once, “he can do anything, fix anything,  he decides to do, and its not that he’s so much smarter than the rest of us, its just that he won’t give up until he finishes what he starts.”   And he wouldn’t give up on me, when many a weaker man would have.   And I guess that even though I give up very easily on fixing things, I’m equally as stubborn in my way, because I stuck it out through the hard times, too.

Then there was that Love thing.   And the good times which were more than grand.  And just the comfort of being with someone so long that you knew what they were going to do and say.   The memories and history.  The kids  – We liked to have one or two every decade.    Laughing about stupid things only the two of us understood.  Starting with a word or two and not having to finish because he knew.   Sharing that morning cup of coffee and the final kiss good night. Sitting on the porch, watching the cars and the people.

Am doing hard time today.  But, realize, it won’t always be.   This still doesn’t seem like my real life.  And yet, it is.  Miss you, Babe.  I’d put a picture on, but he’d hate that.


  • By Carol, May 4, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    A wonderful tribute highlighting the love that binds a couple together in marriage. Stan was oh so human and that is why we loved him and will remember him. God’s speed as you continue your journey thu this difficult time…

  • By Stina, May 6, 2011 @ 7:29 am

    You write so simply and beautifully about this. My heart goes out to you, and I hope you get to a time when all those wonderful memories give you more comfort than pain. May today be a little easier…

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