In ALL, MARRIAGE by Stephanie Klein40 Comments

I was in my closet hanging up my clothes for the day. Straightening. I wondered what I’d do with your clothes if you died. That big closet next to mine filled of your crumpled days and ironed events. Which ones would I keep just for myself, which would I save for Lucas? Last night you went to pick up dinner, and I cautioned you to drive safely, at least three times. I was on my knees when I heard you walk in from the garage, back safe. I was picking peas off the floor just under Lucas’s highchair. "Poppa’s home," I sang. But all that time you were gone, I imagined the police ringing the bell, the officer with his hat in his hand, as if I were your mother and you were away at war. They were delivering the news, I imagined. I’d be in shock. I wouldn’t know what to do. I don’t know your passwords. I’d need to get something off your computer and I wouldn’t be able to. I imagine all these small details, the way I’d probably start cleaning. I wouldn’t know what to do. I don’t know how people move on after such news. Someone goes in for liposuction, or some other elective surgery, and they don’t come out. I think of things. Not all the time, and when I do, I find I hold onto you longer and am more clingy. Last night I sat on your lap. I’d been thinking death thoughts, which always seem to bring me closer to you.


  1. I used to be like this too… I would wonder, multiple times a day, in a matter-of-fact way, how I was going to do various household things after my husband died. It was just not reasonable behaviour. My anti-anxiety medication has helped a lot.

  2. I hope someday that a man holds onto me a little longer and a little tighter because he can't imagine his life without me!

  3. Stephanie,

    This post spoke to me so much. I think we always worry about those we love. I was 25 when I my husband was killed. I used to worry about him alot. Worried about losing him all the time. Then I came home one day and the police were there waiting for me. That was 14 years ago and sometimes I don't know how I ever survived. But somehow I did. Somehow we always do. When the unimaginable happens I think we just summon the strength from who knows where and move through it.

    What I did regret though was all the time I wasted worrying about losing him. I wish I had enjoyed him more. The fear took over me at times. Not that I am saying that is happening to you. But what I do want to say is try not to spend too much time wondering and worrying about the what ifs (so hard, I know) and enjoy every blessed moment you have with him.

    I wish you many many years of happiness together with him and all those you love! :)

    Great post…I love the honesty there….

  4. My husband knows that I think like this so he texts me several times a day just to let me know he is still alive. I love him for that. I know I am being a little crazy but he doesn't mind that I am a little crazy sometimes. I am lucky.

  5. Oh boy, can I relate. My husband has some health issues right now that can lead to some terrible accidents at work. He is extremely cautious, and I try to go to a place of trust, but still worry. I also worry if he goes on a trip without me either by car or plane. But ultimately, worry is a way to try to control events and does not serve a purpose except to wear you down unnecessarily. In those moments, it is best to take a deep breath and try to center. I do try to follow my own advice, but it does not always work.

  6. I hope the posts above from cathy bueti and Mon put things in perspective. It seems like you expend a lot of energy worrying about a lot of things. Not that it's not your privilege to do so, and your journal. And obviously there are very legitimate things you worry about (whether you want to move closer to family, etc). But others seem like they're much ado about not much … (your skin being less than perfect, irrational fears that someone will die, yada yada)

  7. I always worried. I never enjoyed a vacation because of the fear that my husband would have another heart attack in a foreign country away from his doctors and our family. I worried whenever he left the house, to go to work, the store or just for a walk. Then on my birthday my wonderful 50 year old husband had that massive heart attack that I so feared and died. The hardest thing I have ever had to do or will do was to wait for my son to come home from school and tell him that his adored father was gone forever. Although it has been almost 6 years it is still so painful and sad. Time really doesn't not make anything better, it just makes it different. A little fear is a good thing.

  8. I know exactly what you are talking about. My husband had surgery a few months ago and I cried the entire time he was in there. I just couldn't stop imagining the doctors coming to tell me that he wasn't coming back. I have never been so grateful to see his face in my whole life.

  9. Gah! I do this too! I feel ridiculous for it- who else is THAT morbid? ;)
    I constantly think, "what was the last thing I said to him before we hung up? What it 'I love you'?" Then a few weeks ago he was expected home. For the first time ever I didn't think Shit- what if he is dead on the highway. Then I get a phone call "Hey babe, I got in an accident" Turns out it was minor, but when I hung up I sobbed. It could have been worse. We got lucky. That could have been it.
    I don't think men do this. I keep telling him- don't walk home alone in the dark, don't take that creepy alley, don't cross the train tracks, and he thinks it's ridiculous. I try explaining to him- he doesn't just have himself to worry about- he has me now, and I don't want to be left alone! I can imagine the worry is quadrupled when kids (twins at that) come in to the picture.

  10. Isn't weird how our minds always seem to go there? To THAT place? I often find myself going there to that very same thought of my husband on the train some mornings, two hours alone will make your mind think crazy things. My husband has MS and I am in constant fear that something will happen to him while I'm at work and who will tell me, how will I manage to get home? How will I tell his children? How will I move on? Does one ever truly ever move on? I can't even begin to imagine how one would cope.
    This post was beautifully written Steph, definitely makes us all wanna hug our loved ones just a little bit tighter.

    Oh and on a happy note (because its 7 am and a little to early for the tears!!) the new pics of you and the fam? Gorgeous!!

  11. This post is so on point for me! I have these thoughts all the time about my husband…..I worry that our 10 month old twins won't have a father, I worry about how will I ever get out of bed w/ out him and go on….I'm glad that I'm not alone w/ my morbid thoughts and hope that I will embrace everyday with my family and love them completely all the time…

    The pics of your family are awesome! I always enjoy those! Thank you for the honesty….

  12. My worst fears were realized. My husband died 6 months ago from cancer. Because it was not a sudden death, he gave me the passwords to everything and had time to get his affairs in order.
    I hope you never know the pain I have known.

  13. I totally understand and relate to this post. My husband is a police officer and when he is at work i worry. Not all the time but the times when we are on the phone and he says he has got to go to an armed robbery call or a domestic situation. Our deal is he has to call me within one hr or I will be REALLY worried. I mangae it much better now that we have been married a few years. The first year was probably the hardest with worrying.

  14. its nice for all of us to see we are just human and that most think these thoughts. I think if you truly love someone you can't not have these thoughts. For me, this kind of thinking started when I was a kid and would imagine one of my parents dying and now I find myself worrying the same way about my sister, husband and cats. It's like you need to think about how you would react so if it ever happens you've already figured out your strategy. If something happend to my husband I would probably hole up in his parents house, in his old room safely in the closet. The closet is always my happy place.

  15. Oh my. Sandi and Barbara M., I am so so sorry.

    These comments are just so sad. I also can totally relate to this post. My husband is flying across the country today for business and I have such anxiety to the point where he asked me to not express it as it was making the situation all of the worse. I think that the worrying can be partly explained because the unthinkable (or actually, the great stakes.

  16. I worry like this too except not about my husband (because I don't have one) but about my daughter. When I was married to her Dad, I worried about him like that too. Her Dad has now learned that if he is going to be more than 15 minutes late bringing her back, he has to call me. Something about that magic 15 minute mark. The other thoughts, I work on trying not to fight them so much when they come into my head and let them float on through and return to the present. Deep breaths. I really want to enjoy her and she is already growing up so fast, I don't need it clouded by my worry. I understand that fear.

  17. Sandi and Barbara M.,
    I feel for you as I have known that same pain you have right now. It is still so raw….I remember when I was in that place. It seemed as though it would never get through it, that I would never be able to live and laugh again without my husband. Barbara, as you said…time won't make it easier but I can say that you will get through it and move on and find a life for yourself and it can be a good one. Although it is 14 years later for me and I am remarried, there is not one day that goes by when I don't think of my first husband….but the difference is now I can smile when I do.

  18. I think stuff like this all the time. My husband rides a Harley and I feel that way every time he goes on even a short day trip. Thankfully, he texts me everytime he stops or every few hours, but I definitely think exactly the way you described- it could be raining and I already think he's a bad driver (haha), or I feel like someone will call and he'll try to get the cell phone out of his pocket to see who it is and swerve.

    I'm sure it will be worse once there's a child involved. I'm not a worrywart at all, and I NEVER fear for my own safety. To be truthful, I'm the one who's put myself in more precarious situations than he has been. But- I guess because I've had death cheat me before with an ex- a case of wrong place, wrong time- freak accident, I worry more for the one I love most.

  19. I hate when I have those thoughts, usually it involves one of my kids and I go through the whole scenario with a knot in my stomach while I am doing it.

  20. nh,
    In 2007 there were no passenger deaths on any US airline. Compare that to auto accidents which kill people daily (the annual rate is in the mid tens of thousands.)

    We worry more about airline crashes than auto accidents because we are not driving, not in control. But really? Statistically? Slow down and wear your seatbelt.

    Hope this makes you worry less about your husband today.

  21. it's funny – i don't worry about anyone else dying as much as i worry about dying myself. does that make me an awful person?

  22. All of yesterday, I sat around wondering about my parents home in Colorado. They had to evacuate the night before because of a forest fire. I spent the day with my car keys in my hand, just in case they needed me there to sort through a sooty mess. Everything was fine, with the fire stopping 50 yards or so from their home… but I certainly understand the "what if" sentiments and just how close they bring you to loved ones.

    I hope you don't worry too much though. Phil is great. I could see him stopping space and time before anything bad could happen.

  23. My husband flys each week. My parents are growing older.. I fret about things like the death of others– never my own.

    The thought crosses my mind on how would I ever survive the death of a child. My mind won't let me ponder this for more than a few, fleeting seconds.

  24. I always have thoughts like that when I am depressed and fearing the worst from life. Perhaps talk with your doctor? And get out and EXERCISE! The #1 thing my doc would recommend..(the second being anti-depressants.) Excessive worrying not productive or good for the soul. Get it checked out?

  25. Once in a while I look at my daughter (6) w/my husband and realize that if something were to happen to him (G-d forbid), no one would love our daughter like he does (excluding me, but you know, a father's love, etc) I told him this and warned him he better take good care of himself!

  26. I was on my way back to Dallas yesterday from NY and they showed "P.S. I Love You" during the flight. I thought movies were supposed to make you cry at the end, but I was crying less than 10 min into the movie and about every 5-10 min after that. The people around me would have thought I was weird, except most of them were asleep. My heart broke when she called his voicemail to hear his voice because I know I'd do the exact same thing…

  27. To the poster who posted under nh on 3/17 at 3 pm It wasn't me): Rationally, I know that you are more likely to get in a car accident than die in a plane. But it does help to remember this. Thanks.

    To amy: I don't think this kind of worry can be attributed to depression. At least in my case–for me, it is loving a person more than anything in the world, that the thought of losing him is tantamount to losing everything. It is a relationship that even the time spent doing tedious activities can be effortlessly joyful. So, I would nix the advice re taking a pill, and leave that opinion for a professional.

    But, you know what? Your advice re depression and exercise is spot-on. I do strength pilates, power yoga, and running, and these activities help me stay focused and centered.

  28. Crystal – men do think about this stuff.

    Brett – funny you mention the in-flight movies. Seems every time I travel (a lot) they show some movie that gets me the same way. I think at home the same movie wouldn't move me at all, but being away amplified everything.

  29. nh you have your opinion and I have mine. I had no idea Stephanie had an assistant in her comment section.

    Sometimes excessive worry/guilt/anxiety is a symptom of depression. In my case it was. Once on A-D's my head stopped churning out worse case scenarios and I could deal with things more rationally. I no longer worry ALL the time. Life is much better.

  30. Guilty as well.
    I do it with my husdand.
    I do it with my children.
    I do it with my parents, my mother-in-law, my friends, acquaintances … sometimes with feelings of fear and other times there is a feeling of potential relief – I always feel guilty.
    I am glad I am not the only one.

  31. This is such a beautiful post, because I think we all have those thoughts and they remind us to hold the ones we love just a bit closer, when we realize how fragile their lives are.

  32. I lost my first boyfriend at 15-my first husband at 25-so, yeah, i'm speaking from a little bit of experience-ABSOLUTELY NOTHING prepares you, nor can I describe THAT feeling you have when you do get the worst news of your life. All I can say is you do learn how to go on, and if your lucky and willing to move on, sometimes your blessed again with another person to love again just as much as before. I've been married to my second husband almost 8 years now, and even though it took a while, I eventually got over feeling like the black widow.

  33. i'm just sitting here waiting on my parents to arrive and boom…you hit me with this ton of bricks. talk about wake up and smell the java. i am living your nightmare day in and day out. my husband is in his 8th month of treatment for stage iv lung cancer. my nightmare doesn't involve a police officer…mine is me waking up next to a dead man and then dealing with the kids as they all make their way downstairs for breakfast………..OR the other scene is when he IS gone and i'm laying in bed alone……..i wonder if i'll sleep in the middle????????/

  34. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  35. Some of us become programmed to let our minds drift in to consider consequences in what can be negative and dramatic scenarios. They are also a reality of some peoples lives though so how would we be affected if it happened to us. I agree with Amy that it sounds like a symptom of depression so rampant in this era. However, there are scientific studies showing breakthroughs in re-programming our minds to become happier and more positive. Positive psychology is the studies of happiness and what goes right in our lives rather than focusing on what goes wrong. Learning to build upon what is already great, to have gratitude for it and cultivate it. It is easier to keep our minds from wandering there when we have something to replace it with, i.e. wonderful visions of ideally how we want out future to be and thinking and acting upon real goals to get us there. A very worthwhile journey.

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