Decision Time

A funny thing happened on the way through life.

I’ve been a widow for five months now. The numbness now comes and goes, it’s not a constant anymore. The video that runs through my brain of the last hour of Scot’s life isn’t quite as clear, isn’t quite as vivid. I am getting a little better at remembering other things. At first, I would have a conversation, seem pretty normal, make appropriate responses, nod at the right times, and ten minutes later I would have no clue what I had just talked about. And this happened in important meetings—with financial advisors, insurance agents, moving crews, mortgage closers. In the first several months I had to return to the bank every month because I couldn’t remember what I had reset passwords to only the previous month.

I’m sure now this is why people who have gone through trauma shouldn’t make big decisions. And yet I did. I decided to buy a condo less than 48 hours after Scot died. Of course, I made the decision, but Scot had been part of that decision up to hours before he died.

It’s funny that even while I am alone, many of the decisions I have been making have had Scot’s fingerprints on them. We had so many plans in process, I am just continuing to implement the plans. Road tripping west this winter–part of the Plan. Buying a condo–part of the Plan. Remodeling—part of the Plan. Living at the lake—part of the Plan. Working on my writing—part of the Plan.

Doing it alone was not part of the Plan. And there is no plan for the holidays without him. That was something we hadn’t ever discussed. We never thought there was a need. We thought we had more time.

And I know at some point there will be major decisions to make without Scot’s input or guidance. It will be my decision. My own singular plan to implement.

I have a role model to follow—my son, Lee. He embarked on his own path this summer. He lost a dad but pursued a new job, took the initiative to do the paperwork, set up the interviews, got on the waitlist. All while he was searching for a townhome/condo to buy. One of his first days in his newly purchased townhome, he got the call that the job came through. I was standing with him as he took the call—accepted the offer, arranged the start date, captured the details of his new responsibilities. It was awesome to witness.

Every day, I am getting practice to make the big decisions in the future alone. Every day I have a million little decisions I have to make alone. These are decisions I would have likely made alone before Scot died. I need to buy eggs. I need to fill the truck with gas. I need to change the oil.

In a way, making decisions alone is so much easier. We used to consult each other on virtually everything. And we each had our opinions, strongly held, about virtually everything. It took me years to figure out that when he asked me, “Where do you want to have dinner?” he really was saying, “Guess where I want to go for dinner.” And I know deciding what color kitchen cabinets to get, which flooring, what kind of granite for countertops would have been relationship threatening, conflict laden, time sucking black holes.

But there were also the decisions that Scot made that I had never been a part of—dealing with vacation timeshare points; managing the frequent flyer miles; how to start the boat. A funny thing about when I start thinking about it—there aren’t too many things about our day to day lives that I didn’t know what to do. The big divide was work. Scot’s work was his focus. None of us knew what he was doing in his work. We depended on him to do it, do it well, do it without us. I ran the day to day business details, but he did the actual work of the business, alone. The rest, the stuff I have to deal with every day for the rest of my life, I did with and without him.

So, I guess you could say I was prepared to live without Scot. I can do the mechanics of life alone. Scot prided himself on being rational, fact-based, untinged by emotion. What he didn’t consider was that the mechanics are the easy part of life. Living life without emotion? Not consider the impact of our decisions on people? He was blind to the fact that he could be his rational self because I filled the emotional need. I was the Yin to his Yang. I was the Democrat to his Republican. I was the gray to his Black and White. I was the outer world to his inner world.

I can do the mechanics. It’s the rest of life I’m not sure about.


9 thoughts on “Decision Time

  1. Julie Matt says:

    Elaine, this is what I am going thru now, your’s was a bit earlier than mine, but I thought I was very self sufficient knowing I could take care of things that came up. I am not a mechanic but my daughter is, and I too like you, face a future that is going to be so different than I thought. but I do know that my faith in my Lord will get me through many difficult moments and my friends will be there for me. But it still is very scary for me. It was NOT supposed to be this way.


  2. Cindie Luke Mauldin says:

    Actually I was wondering many times since you lost Scot when you would approach this subject. At the time I lost my first husband I often wondered what other people’s feelings were in this regard. I remember having a pull chain light in our walk in pantry. One day I walked into it, pulled the chain on the light and it came off in my hand. I just say down on the floor and started crying, knowing there was no way I could possibly fix it. I’d walk in the grocery store and the clerks would say, ” hey, where’s your other half. ” Seems like life goes on around you, just like normal, when in fact it’s anything, but normal.


    1. elainekoyamawrites says:

      I’ve had so many of those pull chain incidences. Tom tells me “Don’t worry about it. Not a big deal. “ and it’s true. The bulb burned out in my bedroom fan/light. I bought a new bulb, swapped it out and the light won’t work. I know it’s a loose wire someplace but by the time I figure out where it will cost me more than getting a new light. Could Scot have fixed it? Maybe, maybe not. But he would have had to worry about it, not me.


  3. Jeanie Beary Stolle says:

    You will keep going and do Life well, Elaine, you just will! I read your words speaking directly to my heart on this the 11th anniversary of losing my husband, Tim. I remember the first time I tried to buy ingredients for meatballs, & had no idea what to buy because that was Tim’s own recipe-I sobbed in the middle of the grocery store. Yet holidays can be sweet when you share the special traditions with your friends & family. One of ours being a Christmas tree decorated only with birds as Tim started even before we had children. Memories are bittersweet, but overall they become blessings! Hugs, dear Elaine!


    1. elainekoyamawrites says:

      We haven’t tried to make Scot’s special ribs, but we’ve talked about it and the fact none of us know what he put into the marinade. And we all look forward to continuing the bowling tournament in Hardin. Thanks, Jeanie!


      1. Jeanie says:

        I love seeing the photos of the bowling tournament, wonderful tradition! Yes, those events will keep you smiling, even through tears.


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