He’s not entirely gone, but he’s going.
Before being widowed, I had some idea of what it would be like if it were to happen. Am I the only one who indulges in these morbid fantasies? I don’t think I am, because it happens so often in movies. Other people must sometimes also think, “what if the unthinkable happens? What would that be like?”
You know that half of the bed will be empty.
You know his spot on the sofa will be taken over.
You know his chair at the dinner table will go unused.
You know your life will change so dramatically that you won’t be able to understand it.
You don’t know all of the tiny things that will change, reflecting his absence in tiny ways.
I have just today realized that you can see his absence by viewing the contents of our pantry. Of my pantry.
(This isn’t a euphemism.)
Our pantry used to be full of canned chili. He loved chili in all of its forms, but I rarely made it so our pantry was stocked with chunky chili, smooth chili, with and without beans, hot and mild.
We also owned an inordinate amount of hot sauce. And different types of French and Russian salad dressings. And chips. There were always corn chips in our pantry. And candy. He had a sweet tooth. We had white bread.
I made Frito Chili Pie last night, with the last of our canned chili. I donated much of it to a food drive. I was the only person who ate it. The kids don’t like chili. They don’t like chili dogs, or chili on spaghetti. They just don’t like it. So all those cans of chili are gone. Likewise the cans upon cans of different types of beans — maple beans, ranch style beans, baked beans.
I tossed most of the hot sauces. I’ve gotten old and prone to heartburn.
I made a conscious decision to only buy chips sometimes, to go with a specific meal or event. I can’t say no to chips, so it’s best they not do the asking.
I did not make a conscious decision to stop buying sweets. I just never think about it. The kids have had to ask me to buy candy, or the makings of root beer floats. Poor guys.
I switched us all to entirely whole wheat bread, and nobody complained.
All those maple beans have been replaced with plain pinto beans, vegetarian refried beans, and garbanzo beans.
The pantry is filling up with whole grains. Trey and I always did high protein diets together. He got the best results from them. Now, however, I am returning to a more plant based diet, and the jars of various grains now replenished in the pantry reflect that.
The French and Russian dressings are gone. Blech.
There is no Spam. There is tuna. There is no ramen. There is penne.
The fridge is the same. American cheese has been replaced with provolone. Steak has been replaced with hamburger. Heinz ketchup has been replaced with Hunts. Spicy barbecue sauce has been replaced with the honey variety.
It sounds like small changes, but every time I open the pantry I see his absence. It does not distress me much, but it serves as a reminder with every meal that the whole of our life is changed.