“….Three is the magic number….”

……”a man and a woman had a little baby (yes, they did)…there were three in the family…three is the magic number…..”

There are likely many of you who knew right away that the above song was from Schoolhouse Rock.

Others may have thought that the Flaming Lips wrote this song.

Still others were like….um…what?

So I was at the gym today and I was in a Sinead O’Connor music mood(see also raging, gritty, tearful and fragile all rolled into one).

I started off my run with “Gloomy Sunday”(and yes, I know that it’s not a Sinead original)

It then dawned on me that today was Sunday and that I was, in fact, feeling slightly gloomy.

And THEN the date dawned on me(there was a lot of “dawning” going on at the gym today)

Today is July 19th.

Today marks 3 months since Jamey died.

The memory of Jamey’s death seems as misty and distant as it does smothering and acrid.

When someone significant dies, you aren’t just dealing with the loss of them(which is hard enough).

You’re also dealing with the loss of who you were with them; of what you were with them.

It’s like the lyrics from the song “Landslide”(yes, I know it was originally a Fleetwood Mac song)

“I’ve been afraid of changing cuz I built my life around you”

I’m not implying that my life choices were entirely Jamey-dependent, but in a way, they were.

I mean, doesn’t that happen when you marry someone?

You have plans that involve each other–plans for the immediate future(should I microwave a Banquet

or an Encore frozen meal for dinner tonight?) or the distant future(should I wait until I’m 75 to take a

cooking class  so I can spend the next 30 years being lazy and microwaving dinners?

As banal or complex the questions, in a marriage(or, at least in our marriage), the answers are often

decided by two people.

Jamey and I decided to buy our 150+ year old house with the intention of (eventually) restoring it,

building on to it and (possibly) moving it back from the interstate highway that rests about 30 feet from our

front door.

Jamey and I had identities as “old home renovators”.

Waiting for the schoolbus
Waiting for the schoolbus

Jamey initially wanted more children than one. And we tried for a while, but things didn’t work out for us.

When he was diagnosed in 2008, we made the decision to not have any more kids.

Jamey and I had identities of “parent of an only child.”

Now that he’s gone, I’m questioning what my identities are anymore.

I chose to be a wife. I had an identity as a wife.

Although my “wifeness” may not have been especially Donna Reid


my wifeness worked for Jamey and me.

Now, I’m a widow….and I can’t think of the word without thinking of this song:

I’m pretty sure Eleanor was a spinster and not a widow, but I digress.

Aside from the tax benefits and being afforded a slew of legal rights, being married has some under-

appreciated perks.

My cousin, Sean, got married yesterday. Yeah–I kind of suck and forgot to mail back my “regrets” card.

I wasn’t able to attend but “The Kelke” went(Kelke= Keith/my dad + Elke/my mom).

Congrats to Mr and Mrs. Sean and Karen Biddulph!

It wasn’t until I look at the invite that I

realized, “Crud—if I go to the wedding, I’d have to find a date.”  When you’re married, your wedding date

is a lock. When you’re me, your only potential date is your 11 year old daughter.

That’s pathetic.

Don’t get me wrong–there’s no real urgency for me to no longer be a widow or to try out my style of

wifeness on some poor unsuspecting fool.

But now that I can (legally, religiously and ethically) date, it makes me realize: “Holy crap, dating stinks!”

So for now, I’m trying to wear in this new “widow” identity without getting too many blisters.

As for the “old home renovator”—yeah, this one is kind of tough.  Jamey was fearless(in a good/bad way)

when it came to DIY projects. He also had really good taste and an architect’s eye.

I have none of that. I was the (un)hired help on all our home reno projects–I did the grunt work.

I’m now stuck with a 150+ year old home, a desire to DIY as much as possible to

honor Jamey’s memory and adoration for this house but very little skill and even less confidence.

So for now, my identity is as an old home owner and maybe future DIYer?

And then there’s the kid situation. TMI, I know, but I still do have the ability to reproduce

(you’d think Godarwin would’ve shut those genetically dangerous

eggs down years ago).

I imagine that my ovulating expiration date is soon approaching and, with its imminent arrival, I feel a weird

urge to introduce another human specimen into the world.

If nothing else, I need a control subject to see how much of Caeley’s insanity is nature and how much


Maybe I feel the need to be needed again with Jamey gone?

Perhaps I’m longing for some purpose?

Is it possible I’m just experiencing some modified form of “empty nest syndrome?”

So for now, my identity is still a  the mom to an only child, but who knows?

There is always a chance, however, that I could address all of my identity crises

in one fell swoop.

If anyone knows of a single male or widow who successfully renovated an old home

who also happens to have a son(age 6-10) with the name of

Carrick(the son, not the dad), oh—and to make things easy he should be Catholic and, while we’re at it, he

should also be at least partly Irish…..and if his zodiac sign were a Scorpio, that would be great—-OH!

and his last name has to start with one of the following letters:

B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V, Z,

So if any of you HOTties knows someone who fits ALL the above qualifications, please reply below.

As you can see, I’m not picky at all.

I’m gonna pick up on this whole “new life building” thing 1-2-3!

2 thoughts on ““….Three is the magic number….”

  1. You’ve been alone a lot longer than just 3 months.

    If one’s spouse has been a cognitive mud puddle for multiple years, the other half of the marital equation has definitely been alone!

    Not everyone’s gonna understand that but us spouses caring for our mud puddles sure do. We love them. We miss them. They are never coming back. They may still be sitting next to us but they are gone and it is very lonely.

    Maybe we’ve just fallen off ladder doing some home repair that they used to do or spilled hot grease on ourselves trying to get supper ready in time for them to take their meds.
    We could use some help or ar least empathy but they dont know how to put on a bandaid, maybe they have forgotten how to make a phonecall.
    They may not care what kind of a day you’re having, if your hair’s on fire…..its time for another episode of T.J. Hooker……

    Saint Monica, pray for us lonely caregivers.

    You did good a good job and hung in there for the whole ride with your husband and you’ve been alone for a long time.

    You go lady!!! Find yourself a man. It’ll be a lot easier if he’s Catholic ( trust me on this one)
    I’ll be prayin’ for ya.

    Don’t let anybody tell you its too soon.

    Learning to love T. J. Hooker,
    -Judy Donley


    • TJ Hooker! Mine was Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right back to back.

      Now, when I’m at the gym and I see either one of those shows on tv, my workout routine gets an extra

      “ooomph” because I can’t stand to see either Wayne Brady or Drew Carey’s face anymore–which is a shame

      since I used to like them both.

      And yes, I’ve been alone for a while. And you’re right that most people wouldn’t/don’t understand that as well(“But at least you still have
      your husband; mine died 6 months ago.” When people would say that to me, I wanted to say–“you want him, you take him!”)

      We are married widows as far as I’m concerned.

      I know that above all else Jamey would’ve wanted me and Caeley to be happy.

      If happiness for me entails a life of being contently alone, I’m fine with that.

      If happiness involves occasional companionship, I’m fine with that too. And I’ll try to stay in the Catholic arena as much as I can.

      We’ll see. I’m in no rush.


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