Being a widow has exposed me to a new world of words, phrases, and terminology. The legal and financial implications of being a widow are overwhelming. The effect on day-to-day life is immeasurable and sometimes surprising. Honestly? It can be unnerving and disturbing.
This week alone, I have had a dozen acquaintances, business colleagues, bankers, and lawyers refer to Chip as my ‘late husband’. The latest one was yesterday, and it stunned me because the term ‘late’ really means dead, and it hit me hard. I am trying to deal with these feelings a little better so I tend to turn to humor, a little macabre in this case, but nonetheless. Here is what I came up with.
Why do they say ‘late’ husband?
I did not have the answer, so I looked it up. The term ‘late’ used as an adjective before husband or wife makes even the dictionary uncomfortable and reverts to widow/widower. Collins Dictionary defines late as an adjective,
You use late when talking about someone dead, especially someone who has died recently.
As I researched the term a little further, I found numerous ways to refer to someone dead; some actually made me chuckle.
…..checked out, conked (out), croaked [slang], demised, departed, died, dropped, ended, exited, expired, fell, flatlined, kicked in [slang], kicked off [slang], parted, passed away, passed (on), pegged out [chiefly British], perished, popped off, stepped out, succumbed, went, asleep, breathless, cold, dead, defunct, demised, departed, fallen, gone, late, lifeless, low, gone to meet your maker, bought the farm, pushing up daisies kicked the bucket, and finally, gave up the ghost. (Phew!)
So was Chip ever late?
I think about Chip all the time as things come into my heart and head. It’s funny how it happens, and there is no explanation for it. So, I began to think about Chip and “late” and came up with this shortlist.
- Chip may have gone to the Co-op for three things and came back with two, but he was never late.
- He was never late to tie my sneakers when I was pregnant when I could not even see my feet.
- He was never late to change a poopy diaper or clean up puke- human or canine.
- Chip was never late to hold open the car door and take my hand.
- He was never late to drive one of the kids to practice, a movie, or a game.
- He was never late to hold my hand during childbirth, miscarriage, surgery, and cancer.
- Chip was never late to really see me and know exactly what I needed, whether a foot rub or popcorn and a gin & tonic.
- Chip was not late to our wedding, I was. My dad told me we needed to make him sweat.
In full disclosure, Chip was late sometimes.
- Chip was a little late to hit the brakes, passing a trooper at 83mph and getting yet another speeding ticket.
- He was often late to pick out Christmas gifts for me yet always seemed to make me laugh- I appreciated him for the efforts (and was not late to tell him so).
- Chip was a little late, realizing that throwing a baby in the air after feeding them did not deliver a good result.
- I think he was a little late to realize he was always the sous chef, except when it came to making pizza.
There are dozens more that I can add to this list, but I will save it for another time.
Well, you were too early to leave this life. I was hoping you could wait for me. Chip; I may be a little late. I have some things to do here before I go and spend the rest of time with you.