They had been married for over forty years when she passed away. At the funeral, his daughter told me that her father just didn’t look like himself without her mom by his side. In the weeks following her death, Peter received generous donations of pre-cooked casseroles from the woman’s prayer group his wife had been a part of right up until the end. He pecked at them in spite of his lack of appetite. After that, he mostly ate Hungry-Man dinners and sausage; she had always done the cooking. He often cried himself to sleep.
Many people thought that he would die shortly after her. It happens more than you might think, sometimes within a matter of hours. He didn’t. A few months after the funeral, I noticed that he was sitting beside Edna at Church. I’m not sure that I was even happy about it, you know? It seemed wrong, in many ways. A few weeks later, I noticed that they were holding hands during the sermon. I phoned his daughter.
Her feelings seemed to be the same as mine. I mean, Edna was like a sister to Peter’s wife. Was something going on before she died? My imagination was going wild at the prospect of such infidelities. I wasn’t the only one either. Many people in the Church thought that they were moving too fast; there was no way he had grieved enough to start up something new. Over forty years, for pity’s sake!
One Sunday after Church, I took pastor Bill aside and confronted him on the situation at hand. He played dumb, I think. When I asked him what he thought about the new “love affair” that was happening in the Church, he asked me what I was talking about. “Peter and Edna, of course!” I couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed. “Oh, I had no idea. Isn’t that nice!” I was so angry, I almost cried. I walked quickly to the bathroom.
Four months later, they announced their engagement. I have never felt as betrayed as I did on that day. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even congratulate them. That would have been completely hypocritical. The next week, some of the ladies made a cake, which was served with coffee after the service, to celebrate the engagement. I didn’t eat any of the cake. I went straight home: didn’t even talk to pastor Bill that day.
I didn’t go to the wedding either. To do so would have been blasphemous, like spitting on her gravestone. I actually went to the cemetery instead. She had always loved daisies, so I took a bundle of them out there and put them on her grave. I wondered, as I was sitting there, if Jack had ever bothered going out to visit his wife. Things were probably too “hot and heavy” with Edna for him to even bother: disgusting.
He has changed so much since getting married. He used to be shy and quiet. Now, he is always yabbering. It is really obnoxious. He always laughs now too, really loudly and of course Edna joins in, eager to please her new ‘husband’. They are like a couple of teenagers sitting at the back of the Church. Last week, I saw him kiss her on the cheek in the middle of worship; I couldn’t believe my eyes!
I feel so bad for his daughter, having to see all of this. I think she’s having a real hard time watching her father behave in this despicable way. She told me that at Easter dinner, Edna sat on his lap! I didn’t want to believe her, but I do. Supposedly, they are taking dance lessons together.
I have resolved to go to the cemetery every week; every week, I bring fresh daisies and take the old ones out. I think I am the only one who comes here. I am the only one who pays respect to this wonderful woman. She was a pillar in the Church, yet everyone acts as if she never even lived. It is so sad. I often cry while sitting at her grave.