It was the evening after my wife’s funeral and my mother, who had come over for it, my wife’s mother and her father were sitting in our living room. “She wasn’t an easy wife” I found myself saying and her parents responded by saying that she wasn’t an easy daughter to have either.
I cannot express with how much love this was said and it remains one of my most treasured moments of that week.
My wife wasn’t an easy one to live with. And especially now that I look back at our relationship, this is actually one of the things I am most grateful for. An easy life is rarely a satisfying one.
I wasn’t an easy one to live with either. Knowing how to deal with my own feelings isn’t something that comes natural to me and frankly, I am still learning. Various things going on in my life made the first year of our marriage a particularly difficult one.
My wife wasn’t someone to give up easily once she had made up her mind, but I am certain that during difficult times, the thought of quitting had gone through her head. It did then, but also later, go through my own head.
It was never a thought that stayed for a long time. But as I am processing our relationship, I realise there was something unfair about it: for a number of reasons, including but not limited to me having a stable job, leaving would in practice have been a lot easier for me than it would have been for her.
The decision for her to do poorly paid or unpaid work was a deliberate one that we both fully supported. And it was fine, then but even more so now, because so many things become fine after death. But I don’t think I ever fully appreciated this imbalance.
Of course, should we have broken up I believe I would have done the decent thing and continued to support her. But in such circumstances people don’t always do the decent thing they intended to do.
For unrelated reasons, I have recently done some reading on relationships that are both abusive and very hard to leave. Alhough ours wasn’t like that in any way, it has made me realise the importance of being able to leave a relationship with relative ease and making sure the other party can do too. Because many relationships don’t end, like ours did, with death.