Since my husband, Kramer, died last June, I’ve had a complete and total problem with pronouns. I went to college and for a year or so it, planned to be and English major. I know what pronouns are. I understand their use in normal everyday life but since Kramer’s death, they have become an entirely different thing to be reckoned with.
Let me explain….when Kramer was living, we lived in our house. Now when I got to try to use a pronoun when talking about the house things are all wrong. I understand he is dead so technically this is not “our” house. BUT…it still is “our” house and always will be. Kramer did so much work here to make it our home. We picked the house together.
We worked with the architect….
We didn’t do it quite like it’s pictured….
The blood and the sweat to get the house where it is, was the work of both of us…so even though he is not here…I still can’t call it “my” house.
From the moment we bought it, I don’t know that I had ever called it “my” house…even with him gone, “my” house isn’t the right pronoun for me.
When I talk about the kids…how do I refer to them now? For my entire life to date, I’ve not really ever called them “my” kids. I’ve always called them “our” kids. For me, calling them “my” kids negates the role that Kramer had in their lives. Granted, of their growing up years, I spent WAY more time with kids. I did do a lot of the day to day parenting, but in no way does that trump the role Kramer played in their lives.
Without his occasional “come to Jesus meetings” he had with the kids, the great support he gave to me, and “reality checks” he gave us all, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. Calling them “my kids” and not “our kids” feels so wrong to me.
He was such a good support to me. No, he wasn’t there all the time because he was working but…the kids knew he would be coming home. The kids knew I would tell him what our day was like. The kids knew he would back me 100%.
There are so many things Buck learned from him that he went on and used in his work. He’s the reason the girls became nurses. He’s one of the reason the boys enjoy hunting. These are just a very few of the reasons why I don’t feel comfortable calling them “my kids”.
As for the grandkids…someone asked me the other day, “How many grandkids do you have now?” My answer… “we have 6 and one on the way”. I feel the same way about the grandkids as I feel about our kids. The grandkids aren’t mine…they are ours. They are too little to know it yet, but even though their grandpa isn’t here with them, he’s a big part of their lives. We will keep him alive for them and more than that, he was such a big influence on the people our kids became, that it’s going to overflow into the grandkids. I just don’t feel right not calling them “our grandkids”.
This is all fine and dandy in my mind. I can call it “our house”…I can call them “our kids”…I can call them “our grandkids”…but in public, that’s all weird.
I’ve done that. I’ve said “our grandkids” and I’ve gotten an unusual look. It was from someone who knew Kramer had passed away. As I said at the beginning of the post, using pronouns is completely and totally strange.
So far, the only thing I feel comfortable saying “my” about is Rosie.
I got her after Kramer died…he wasn’t physically here to pick her out or consult me about her so I feel comfortable calling her “my dog”.
A year ago…I would have never thought something as simple as using a pronoun would trip me up. I’ll be in public talking to someone and think “I better say “my kids””…and about be in tears because I “left Kramer out” by saying that “my kids” vs “our kids”. I don’t know if this is so hard for me because I was always so adamant before that I said “our kids” that now it’s beyond hard for me to say “my kids”. I’m guessing I likely overthink this…but it’s my reality.
On another note-something else that will likely trip me up:
To date, I haven’t had to fill anything out that says married or single. I remember a blog reader wrote to me after Kramer’s death saying that they were troubled because their mother, who had just lost her husband, was still checking married when she had to fill out paperwork. The daughter was upset by that. I have to say…I think I’m on the Mom’s team. I know physically Kramer isn’t here but I’m still very married. I can’t imagine checking the single box. It is not because I am “in denial”. I am fully aware he is not physically present….but more and more, I believe “married” is a state of mind. I felt married to Kramer long before we actually had a marriage certificate and I’ll feel married to him long after he passed away.
I imagine some of you are reading this thinking…oh my, what’s the big deal with the checkbox married or single? What’s the big deal with pronouns? Trust me, when going through a close personal death, things get “real” in a way they hadn’t before. Holding on to the little things keeps a loved one close… even holding onto little things like pronouns and checkboxes. Having more time to think, realize and appreciate the role a spouse took in raising children together becomes increasingly significant. More than ever, I hold on, appreciate, and honor Kramer’s contribution to our lives by struggling with pronouns…my kids? No- OUR kids. My house? No- OUR house. I can’t imagine it any other way.