He died and I don’t know if I should offer her my condolences or congratulations?

I’m trying to process my thoughts and reactions.

Once upon a time in a land far far away a young woman didn’t have a very good home life. As a result, she married someone in order to get out of her parents home. Because back then, you usually lived at home even after school and college if you didn’t manage to get married during college.

So she ends up living on a farm, being allergic to all animals other than camels and llamas (which is why here vet degree turned out useless), married to someone with the same issues she had growing up in her parents home.

She eventually has enough and leave him and moves back home swearing she will never marry again. She has never really shared details of what her home life was like or what finally happened that caused her to leave him. But once again she became desperate enough to leave her parents home that she married again. She said that this husband was better than the first because, “at least he didn’t hit.”

When I met her, her son from her first marriage was grown and she was coming to our stitching group. When her husband would let her. He didn’t like it when she went out by herself. He didn’t like it when she drove. And when they went on trips, he had to do the driving. So she knew something was wrong when he asked her to take over. In fact, she ended up having to take him to the hospital.

For the next 8 years or so, (I don’t think it has been a full decade) he has been ill and needed a great deal of care.

While we don’t know a lot of details about the marriage before he fell ill, we do know he was manipulative and emotionally abusive and a serious control freak. After he became ill, is was worse in some ways and better. On one hand, she could get out a little more. Especially whenever he was hospitalized.

On the other hand, his treatment of her got worse. One day he had her drive him to the bank so he could make sure her name was not on any of the accounts and make sure she wouldn’t have any access to money. He was also contacting a lawyer so she or her son would never get any of his money. He wanted to give power of attorney over to a relative that did not live near them.

She eventually convinced him that this was a bad idea. For the simple reason that she would not be able to pay any hospital bills and if he was hospitalized and completely out of it, as had happened a number of times, she would not be able to okay any treatment until they were able to get the relative to fly in.

One time he almost killed himself because he was taking his medications wrong. She rushed him to the hospital, they got him straightened out. After that they told her that even thought he seems okay enough that he ought to be able to keep track of things like that, he wasn’t really and she needed to keep track of it all.

And then she stopped coming to stitching because the woman she came with started working had worked and her job included weekends. This husband was only okay with my friend going places with this woman. Maybe it was because she was a stay at home mom and wife for so many years that he thought she ‘knew her place’. As the woman is a wiccan, he probably had no idea the amount of support she gave our friend and how much we all kept trying to work on this friend’s self esteem issues.

This woman I’m talking about is a wonderful woodcarver. She calls her style crude primitive but in actuality it is not crude at all. It is slightly on the primitive style but that is a legitimate carving group that refers to a look but not to any lack of skill. She also has a huge heart and spends a lot of her time knitting mittens and hats for someone she knows in the social work field. These get handed out to kids and poor families if they go in during the cold months.

This woman had her sense of self-esteem and self-worth beaten into the ground by her family and two husbands but was not broken. She is stronger than she thinks she is. We always thought she was strong enough to stand on her own but I think, in the end, it wasn’t because she was afraid to try but more because she just didn’t have any idea on how to do it.

She is also a bit of a technophobe and she refused to have anything to do with the internet. To her, a computer is only a fancy word processor. So the other day, she called a mutual friend who owns the store at which our stitching group meets, to inform her that her husband had died. The shop owner then disseminated the news via a media form most of the stitching group would see.

My first reactions was elation. Followed very quickly by guilt that I could feel that way. It turns out I wasn’t the only one. The person who spread the news said that when our friend called her, she didn’t know whether to say, “I’m sorry,” or “Congratulations”.

At that point the other day, our friend was “ecstatic with the idea of just her and Agnes (the cat) sharing the house. She’s also excited that she can go to McD’s any time she wants now without having to plan an excuse.”

How bad does a marriage have to be when that is a woman’s reaction to the death of her husband? From every hint I’ve ever heard, I think this is being freed from a prison or sorts.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “He died and I don’t know if I should offer her my condolences or congratulations?”

  1. wow, what an interesting blog you have. i’m glad i stopped by here. and unfortunately, i think ‘congratulations’ is the proper word for that a-hole. if you can’t take care of the people you are intimate with – with at least a little bit of kindness then you are a class a a-hole. that guy sounds like he fits the description. man, i hope that woman is freed up a bit now. part of me always wants to start an ‘underground railroad’ for women like this. truly. great read, urban. thank you. xo, mother

  2. I do a little bit of everything. Well, as long as everything is cooking, books, movies, gaming, hobbies, and Science Fiction. I know that I was having trouble dealing with the fact that my first reaction to the news was to rush out to buy her a bottle of wine to celebrate. It just seems wrong in the face of death. But at the same time, given the nature of the person, it still feels so appropriate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: