I realized a while back that while Matt will always be the kids’ father, he is no longer my husband. On the other hand it dawned on me this morning that I will now always be his widow.
This summer I am taking on the project to web archive LiveMosaic and the current customer sites. We will see how it goes.
Matt proposed to me over the phone. I was in Baton Rouge for winter break and had been a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. I was talking to Matt about it and he said something like, “Well, why don’t we go ahead and get married.” I can’t remember his exact words. We had talked about getting married but only as a couple planning on being together forever, not as a couple making plans to get married. Whatever he said, it wasn’t “Will you marry me?” but it was clear to me that that was what he meant. So I told hurriedly told him to stop talking about it on the phone. When I went back to school and saw Matt again there wasn’t really any elaboration to the proposal. It was more a continuation of the phone conversation with me saying yes. We were both really nervous rather than blissful. For fun, we didn’t tell anyone about it for a month and that was a very special time.
Before this I don’t think I had ever dreamed about what it would be like to be proposed to, but of course, this wouldn’t have been it. In fact, for a long time after we started dating, I was pretty certain that I was not going to marry Matt. These stories were shared and then left behind within a few years of our marriage. I am wondering why I started thinking about it tonight. I can see how things change. How my skepticism about marrying Matt was gently redirected to a path of a wonderful existence. How a dud proposal may have been a missed opportunity according to the standards of a media rich world. But it was never a blemish to our marriage.
I think this weekend I am just flooded with dreams of things I have never dreamed about.
You may have figured out by now that I have decided to spend Sunday evenings posting here. I always knew that I wanted to write about Matt for myself and for the kids, but it has taken a long time for me to get here. Of course, I have a lot to write, but I want to get away from ambivalence between spurts of energy to record everything I can think of at once and being overwhelmed with everything that gets in the way of writing anything at all. Now it seems appropriate to have a steady pace that is a reasonable time commitment and keeps me connected to Matt in a very regular and specific way. We will see how it goes with the understanding that it’s an approximate plan.
On the value he brought to his job:
I am really good at searching [on the internet].
Summer (this morning while I was making lunches after Luke peed out the back door onto the deck):
Mama, it must be really hard for you to have lost your husband and to have to take care of three children, especially when the youngest one is three!
In all three of my labors with the kids, I made Matt talk to me pretty much the entire time. I just wanted to hear his voice. With Summer, he wore his voice out and ran out of things to say. By the time Luke was being born, he had apparently decided that he was going to sit and read Leaves of Grass to me. I still have not read more than a small fraction of the book, but I have always thought that there must a be a good reason that Walt Whitman is considered the best American poet ever.
I remember sitting in the bathtub, always listening to Matt’s voice but the words and the poems themselves fading in and out with my contractions. At some point, amidst the endless lists that are Walt Whitman, I heard Matt say, “…and women birthing…” Of course, I paid attention to that, but it wasn’t until after Matt died that I thought of looking up that particular poem to read it again. I wasn’t sure that I was remembering the words correctly, but I couldn’t find it with Google and once again, I could not make it very far just reading Leaves of Grass outright. More recently, it occurred to me that Matt probably inserted the line himself. It is exactly the sort of thing Matt would do and the likelihood that he would open the book at random and find that line is pretty low.
When Matt and I were first married, I remember a friend being at our house and telling me that the reason he thought Matt and I were such a good couple was because Matt was always telling jokes and I was always quick to get the subtleties and laugh, even when no one else did. Matt making this joke of my labor and me getting it– I think that is the stuff of soul mates.