Monday, October 25, 2010

the good wife

a couple of months ago, my husband and  i went to see corinne bailey rae at the house of blues downtown. her first cd was part of the soundtrack to our dating relationship, and we came thisclose to seeing her in concert in new orleans the weekend that we got engaged in 2007.
i was looking forward to her next album and tour cycle. but, unfortunately, tragedy struck when corinne's husband died in march 2008.  i remember how shocked i was when i heard about it. i had only been married about 5 months, and at that time, losing my husband was probably the worst thing that i could imagine happening to me.  i say that because now losing my daughter would definitely be #1.

i felt a real sense of sadness that corinne was so young and had lost her first love and partner of 7 years.  i googled for months afterwards trying to find stories in the british media about how she was doing and if she would recover. i figured that she might never make music again, and that if she did it would be too sad to listen to.

so i was excited to hear that she was back with a new album.  but, in all of her tv appearances supporting the album, the topic of her husband's death never came up.  i was stoked to see her in concert and a little curious to see first-hand how she had overcome the grief and come back to her music.

we had just gotten back to houston a few hours earlier after going to my friend's wedding but i was determined to make it to the concert.  we left babylove with my mother-in-law and set out for the house of blues.  the concert was awesome, of course. she sang a lot of her older songs as well as songs from the new cd.  i haven't quite gotten into her new sound, but i'm sure it will grow on me.

i don't know if i expected to see her break down during some of the songs or what, exactly, i was looking for.  she did have a ring of some sort on her ring finger, but from the outside, she seemed to be holding up okay.  i can only imagine that with the highs of touring and performing, that there must be some terrible lows mixed in.  i was reading the crash course widow's blog today. she also became a young widow after her husband died unexpectedly 5 years ago and her blog deals with her grieving process and how she tries to teach her young daughter about the father she can't remember.

i'm not overly obsessed with this subject, but it is something that i think about on occassion.  a few years ago, i read this really touching book written by a lady whose firefighter husband died on 9/11, which was also their anniversary. her descriptions of the emotions that followed were so deep. 

my first "real" job after college was in a clinic where we treated patients with bladder, prostate, testicular and kidney cancer.  there were a few patients close to my age, which was totally sad.  but the images that stick in my mind eight years later are of the wives of the men with cancer.

these women would schedule appointments for their sick husbands and they would sit stoically in the exam rooms and listen as the doctor dropped bombs in the middle of their universe.  it reminded me of this painting from grant hill and tamia's african-american art collection that we saw at an exhibit at texas southern university when we were dating (i wanted to post the drawing but i couldn't find it on the net).  on one side, it showed a couple on their wedding day, and on the other side, it showed the man's lynched body hanging from a tree.

like the woman in the painting, the cancer wives never could have known on their wedding days just how tragically their marriages would end.  these women would literally shoulder the burden of their husbands, weak from chemotherapy and disease, who needed someone to help them walk into the waiting room.  as the cancer grew worse and their husbands got sicker, these women would push wheelchairs, and prop pillows, and smooth the hair of their men all the while waiting patiently to see the doctor for more bad news. 

there were days when i would watch with a lump in my throat and just pray to God that a) i would never have to experience anything like this, and b) that if i did, that i could be a good wife to my future husband like these women were to theirs. 

before we were married, my husband made it clear that part of the reason that he chose me was that he knew that i was capable of taking care of our future kids should anything happen to him.  so i  also prayed that afterwards i would have the strength to take care of my kids and myself.

this song by india.arie has always moved me, and sums it up well.


rainbowlens said...

This was a moving post. I also Google stalked Corrinne after her husband died. How was she coping? What a nightmare! Her first interview (I covered it on my blog) touched on the death A LOT and so did a lot of the other interviews in the beginning. Then I read she didn't want anyone to ask her questions about it anymore because some people were really insensitive; asking about his funeral and such. So that's why it never came up on TV and later stuff.

Her new album is one of my favorites of all time. Close your eyes and listen to Diving for Hearts.

Reading the Crash Course widow's blog was...I don't even have the words. I found other blogs from hers. Last year I started reading One Day at a Time; young black woman who lost her husband in a motorcycle accident (they were still newlyweds). I'll check out Widow's Walk.

Back to Corrinne; she did break down when she first started performing again overseas, there are reports of tears streaming down her face. Just the thought makes me tear up.

Wow at that drawing--I wish I could see it. That's real emotional work, what you saw/experienced at the clinic.

Thank you for this post.


naijababelove said...

thanks for the comment. i'll have to check out your post and one day at a time.

it's a morbid subject, but death is part of life no matter how much we try to pretend that it doesn't exist.

i just try to stay thankful for every day and moment that we get together. even when he gets on my nerves.... ;-)