Monday, December 7, 2009

My husband & mother-in-law...

Back in September, I met Mr. X's parents.
I was nervous like in a normal way.
The way I assume most people get when meeting their person's parents.
But they are nice people.
I like them.

I have seen them on several occasions.
Mostly at their house for dinner.

But then...
This past weekend I invited Mr. X's parents to my house.
For dinner at my house.
And I guess I was nervous in a normal sort of way.
But there was another element.
Another weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.

It was strange to have someone else's parents in my house.
My boyfriend's parents were coming to my house.
In the house Roger and I bought together.
Yes, it is my house now.
Yes, I am comfortable here and I do not plan on leaving this house so I need to get used to this.
But it is a strange feeling.
Very strange feeling.

And then...
I do not have many pictures of Roger up anymore in public areas.
Only one 4x6 in a collage frame in the family room.
Mixed in.
As to not be so obvious.
But to still be there.
To remind me of a time when things were simple.

But I do have lots of my Cuban family up.
Second cousins.
My sister-in-law.
And my mother-in-law.

Mr. X's mom loves photos like me.
And when she arrived at my house Saturday she was looking at all the pictures I have up while dinner was finishing.
So as I was showing her around and showing her my photos she asked a question:
"Oh, who is that?"
I could not think of how to word it without simply saying "My mother-in-law."
To me she will always be my mother-in-law.
But eventually I will have a new mother-in-law.
At least I hope.
Then what?

Mr. X's dad was also looking at some of the photos.
I wanted to explain the significance of one of the babies in my photos.
Roger's cousin's baby.
There is no way to explain except to say "my husband's cousin's baby..."
I guess I could say "Roger" but I try not to say his name to Mr. X or to people who did not know him.
Weird thing for me.

Even more odd than having them here in my house was saying "my husband" and "my mother-in-law" to them.
I am not sure what other terms to use for them.
Roger will be always be my husband.
My mother-in-law will always be there.
But I am not sure what to call them.
To Mr. X, to his family, and to others.
Because I do hope to have new husband someday.
Not tomorrow, but someday.

"My ex-husband" does not fit.
"My dead husband" sounds morbid even though I am okay with that term.
"My former husband" sounds weird.
And weirder is "my first husband".
It makes it sound like have many husbands.

Ugh... any ideas are welcome.


Sonja said...

ugggh, I have this same problem. I have no idea how to refer to him, them, etc. I do not like putting "widowed" on paperwork, but I also don't like putting single. It's so weird. I didn't ask for this position I'm in and I don't really know where I fit into things! I really enjoy reading your blog. You have a lot of the same thoughts and feelings that I have. Thanks for sharing so openly.

My blog is I have alot of stuff about my kids on there, but also some random thoughts and things about my grief and about Chris. Feel free to take a look if you'd like.

Karen said...

say my late husband

Maritza said...

OMG...this is hilarious, because i recently had a conversation that I ended up thinking this is really weird. i was talking to my new soon to be brother in law about my (husbands) other brother in law, and I felt the same way. then I actually had to introduce the two and was stuck on stupid. I agree with Karen, although sometimes i just wanna say my husband> and I felt the same way when my soon to be new in laws came over the first time, I still have pictures every where not to mention the portrait tattoo on my arm. In the end they know what I have gone through and truly accept me and my baggage so to speak.

Mars Girl said...

I never say "late husband." That makes me sound like I'm 80 years old. I usually just vaguely say "husband." Which, of course, leads people to ask t he inevitable "You were/are married?"

I guess after 8 years, though, I'm better willing to talk about it. Though it's still the "widow bomb" that makes everyone uncomfortable so I try to go to great lengths to avoid bringing it up. I've felt as you did and when I was newer into this, I used to go to great lengths changing stories that involved my husband to a vague "my friend."

Must not reveal too much because every day there's someone new who says, "I didnt know you were married." Some of them found my blog... That helps in the explaining. Then they can read and process all the crazy thoughts without me having to stand there and tell them. It takes out all the awkwardness in a conversation.

I have found one place where it feels really good to reveal your past--another widow! Lately, I had the experience of talking with someone who just lost her husband and it was the first time I was NOT AFRAID to tell her that I had gone through the same thing... It's like she was apart of our (sad) "secret society" now so shock of the widow bomb did not affect her since she was already going through it... And it felt good to be able to listen to someone else tell their story. It's nice to be the listener for someone, remembering that I needed a listener once too, and didnt have any I knew in real life...

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I had this problem for a long time, for a while I had to say, "Shortie's father," but I tried to practice "late husband."

Yeah, it does make you sound old, but you're right there and obviously not, right?

I've gotten used to it. Now that I'm remarried, of course, I have to say it and it has started to sound true, polite, maybe even a little elegant.

Although, I joke that sometime when I'm around folks who knew Gavin I have to refer to Mr. Fresh as "my husband.... I mean, the LIVING one."

Okay, maybe that's not funny. At least i never actually said it.



Mars Girl said...

Supra, I like that--"my living one." It kind of goes to show that the "dead one" stays with you still... and in your mind, you still refer to him as your husband... I think I would have this confusion if I ever I get remarried. I'm sure I'll be telling a story to someone and I'll say "my husband" referring to my late husband and the person will get the story confused with my living one because I won't even think about it. I'll know which one I meant. But no one can see inside my head. ;)

Crash Course Widow said...

I do the same thing; it's always "my husband" and "my in-laws." I don't know what else to call them either. I hate the term "late husband" just for myself. I know some of my widow friends use it comfortably, but I can't. He's not late, for chrissakes; he's DEAD...if he's late, he's running about 4 1/2 years late, dangit (and I was the one with punctuality issues, not him ;o)).

It gets a little strange to some people, I'm sure, because they may or may not know I'm a single parent, probably don't know I'm widowed, but I'm always talking about "my in-laws"...a little less so about "my husband." But I don't know what else to call Charley either. I feel a little funky, depending on the audience, saying "my husband" since he's been dead for almost 4 1/2 years now...but there's nothing else to call him. "My dead husband" in casual references is a bit too much of a club over some unsuspecting body's head. ;o)

You're definitely not alone in this one, Star. When I was dating, I didn't have to deal with the names, pictures, titles, etc. issue because my then-BF's parents knew Charley too and talked about him readily also. Sure made things easier, but then again, they'd known him since middle school too....

Hugs to you, my friend. Glad the dinner went well, even if a bit uncomfortably for you at times. It'll get easier over the years with all those first "introductions" to your home, history, photos, and relatives.

Roads said...

This is a brilliant post, and I have this problem, too.

I don't say 'my wife' -- the possessive never felt that comfortable for me, anyway, to be frank. I might have been bonded to her, but I never felt I owned her. And so I simply say 'Jenny'.

It's simple, and incontrovertible since that is who she is and was to me. (But even then, it's a bit more complicated than that since her family usually called her by a pet name, which she hated, but they used it all the same).

As for my father-in-law, in recent years I got used to calling him 'William and Emily's grandfather.' That was techically correct, although it used to puzzle people for a little while until they'd worked it out. He died this autumn, so perhaps he has now become a 'late grandfather'.

And it's funny, since this stuff shouldn't be difficult or embarrassing to reveal, but the fact is that it often is.

Thanks for posting this.

My Marine said...

I say husband & still call my in-laws, my inlaws. For a long time, I hated when people would call me a widow, now I have learned that is not such a bad word. My blogs are letters to my husband ( Ricky )
/ away 9/22/2010