Grief comes in waves. Now, 5 and a half years into widowhood, they feel more like swells, rollers with no crests–mounds of water that knock me off balance me for a moment, until they roll through.

I didn’t expect this, even though I know you don’t “get over” grief. You carry it with you through the diminished chord of the rest of your life.

I miss Mike in moments when I know he’d get me, and he’d be amused. I miss him when I burrow down under layers of blankets when I go to bed at night, knowing he’d laugh at how I describe digging myself into bed as “burrowing.”

I miss him when I’m reading Shakespeare, and come across something I didn’t know or notice before, and he’s not there to bounce it off.

I miss him when Angelic Daughter does something new and amazing, out of the blue–some sudden leap forward that would be mundane to neurotypical families, but verge on the miraculous to me.

Ours was a difficult marriage. Mike was a difficult guy. But he was also my best friend.

God, I’m lonely.

And I’m pissed off.

For a while there, I had hope–hope that this damn pandemic was winding down, hope that I’d have a chance to “put myself out there” one more time. I felt strong and healthy and ready to try.

And then my knee went out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nowhere near as bad as it could be. The main structural elements of my knee, ligaments and meniscus, are fine. It’s just that osteoarthritis has consumed all the cartilage behind my left kneecap. So it hurts, and it feels out of place, like a giant knuckle that needs a good crack.

I’m working out anyway, but tentatively, and it makes me feel like a little old lady. I wear wide leg pants that accommodate an Ace bandage underneath. I barely work up a sweat, when I used to drip with it.

I knew this would happen, but I was expecting it to happen 15 years from now, after I’d fulfilled a bucket list that included skiing once more, and learning how to sail.


I’m going to try physical therapy, and folk remedies like tart cherry juice, ginger/turmeric tonic, and anti-inflammatory hibiscus tea.

The doc suggested a steroid injection.

I’m opposed. Steroids eat cartilage and bone and I want to preserve what ever I’ve got left, although I can feel my right knee is going next, and soon. Plus, I had cortisone injections in my wrists when I was still breastfeeding, and the doctor promised me it wouldn’t affect Angelic Daughter.


If you inject something into your body, I don’t believe it’s going to dutifully stay in one place. That was the same doctor who prescribed an antibiotic when I was pregnant, that I later found out was “contraindicated” in pregnancy – not enough known about its effect on babies in the womb.

But I really liked the knee doc. He’s fine with me trying the PT, and I don’t think he’ll object if I refuse the injection. But I don’t expect him to repress a knowing, “you’ll change your mind soon enough” look.

Mike had bad knees that could “go out” at the drop of a hat. He jumped up during a pickup volleyball game once, and came down hard on his back, because his knee collapsed under him. I’m sure there’d be a little “you didn’t believe me, didya?” from him in this situation, and I’d deserve it.

My recent rolling waves of grief have as much to do with feeling like I’m too young to be this old as they do with missing Mike. But if he was here, I think I’d have more motivation to fight it, this premature feeling of becoming a timorous old lady, taking tenuous steps down the icy driveway to retrieve the garbage bin, murmuring “don’t slip, don’t slip” as I go.

I’m always cold. I wear sweaters and shawls indoors even when the heat’s turned up.

My hair is thinning. I can’t really cover the bald spots anymore. I’m about the age my mother was when she started wearing wigs. Her hair grew back, somehow, in her late 70’s. So there’s genetic hope, I suppose.

I use makeup only if I’ll be appearing on a webcam. I’ve stopped wearing bras. What’s the point?

In the first two years after Mike died, I did lots of hopeful things. I knew he’d want me to try to be happy, and to do things that we would have enjoyed together. I dressed up, I went out.

Now, I burrow.

Creatures that burrow emerge in the spring, don’t they?

Feeling a bit knocked about by the rolling swells, I remain,

Your grimmer-and-older-than-she-wants-to-be,


8 thoughts on “Waves

  1. So, even though I’ve not been in your shoes, I get it. I can’t fix it, but I can offer a suggestion. When my husband’s knees became so painful he could barely walk, he also refused cortisone injections for the same reasons you mentioned. However, he did agree to rooster comb injections after getting a thumbs up from one his closest friends who happens to be an orthopedic surgeon.


    Really made a difference until he was deemed old enough to have a knee replacement.

    Hang in there!


  2. I often say my chronological age is 70 but my body is much older, and it is. And so we keep adjusting and managing and hoping and looking for… and being grateful for what we have anyway. All the best to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Consider our options! IDK if you’ve checked my new blog but if you do you’ll find that I’m situationally not too far away from Ms Ridiculous. And, being a month behind when this was first posted, I’m also keeping my fingers crossed re nationwide Covid status, for essentially the same reason. We all need to get out and meet and greet, especially us singletons!


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