I know there’s a bright side of the road—I can see it and sometimes even reach it briefly.  Utilizing the amazing skills of resilience that I learned from my late husband, guitarist Pete Huttlinger, I am working through the grief of losing him.

Talking To Myself

Talking To Myself

“Hey babe, I’m home.”

“Check this out.”

“What do you think of this tune?”

“Let’s make soup for dinner.”

“I’m going to go in the studio and pick for a little bit.”

Wow, I miss the dialog, the noise, the music, his voice.  I ceaselessly want that conversation with Pete, but I’m missing half of it.  So I’ve learned to talk to myself—out loud.

I’m the only person I know who can actually be embarrassed all by myself.  Talk about repressed.  I’m half West Virginian and half Ohioan, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this.  We are a modest people--a shy people.  Well, at least my family is.  So even talking to myself feels like I’m on stage with 100 pair of eyes and ears tuned in.

Actually, I’m never really talking to myself, I’m talking to Pete.  I never liked the sound of my own voice very much.  I’ve never thought of myself as much of a talker—although a glass or two of wine and watch out!  At home, in the quiet, I miss his conversation.  The jokes, the slapstick, the goofiness, the serious conversation, the intensity, the gut laughs, the flirtation.  All of it.

Most days Pete and I would meet in “the library” after work for a drink and a game of cribbage, which I could never really get the rhythm of.  The library was actually two matching chairs in our living room posed symmetrically beside the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.  We would recap our days working side-by-side in our offices downstairs in our home.  I’d review my artist “to do” lists, we’d compare notes about the various encounters we’d had with strange people, we’d talk about politics (something that actually used to be fun) and we’d plan for the future.

I have had to teach myself to talk to Pete not just in my thoughts, but out loud, in my real conversational voice.  It started out almost as a whisper but I’m getting over my self-consciousness.  I felt really stupid at first, however, desperate times call for desperate measures.  Initially, it was pretty upsetting to not get a response, in fact it added to the depressiveness of it all.  Now, I’ve begun to hear his response in my mind, and I’ve even laughed out loud knowing what his humorous comebacks would likely be.  Every couple has its inside jokes.  Pete and I had a million of them, and I don’t want to forget them.  So I need to use them.

None of this is earth-shattering research.  It just falls under that large category of coping skills that help me.  It lightens my tightness.  It’s the opposite of squeezing myself inward--which I spend an awful lot of time doing.

As I read this blog back to myself, I imagine I’ve painted a pretty crazy picture of myself.  So if that makes your day any lighter, I’m pleased!

Do you ever talk to yourself or to your absent loved one?

Photo: Kim Sherman

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We Cope So Differently

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