Friday, December 31, 2010

The Most Memorable Sound of the Decade

I just listened to a program on NPR about the most memorable sounds from the past decade.  You know the sort of thing...the ball dropping to begin the Millennium, a sound clip from President W on 9-11, Harry Potter's voice, a report from New Orleans during Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti...

There were several memorable sounds for me in the past decade.  It started with a certain Justice of the Peace saying, "I now pronounce you husband and wife," proceeded through "Mom...I'm going to have a baby," and on to "I got accepted at Cornell College in Iowa," and "Mom, can Aidan and I move in with you?"

But, of course, Dearly Beloved, you know what sound haunts me the most.  It's the sound of that shot that was fired three years, four months and eleven days ago.  The shot that made me a widow and a survivor of suicide.  The shot that killed my dream of love, my hope for very identity, really.

As Rob said, shortly thereafter, the thing I was best at was being Mrs Prior.  I'm still Mrs Prior, but it's not nearly as much fun with Mr Prior mostly scattered in the wilds of Virginia.  I say "mostly," because there are a few crumbs of his ashes still in my possession.  Ashes come in a plastic box, inside a cardboard box.  Inside the plastic box is a plastic bag.  Unfortunately, in Jim's case, there was a tiny puncture in the bag, and a small amount of ashes had leaked out into the box.  I poured out the bag, but didn't notice until later that there was more.  Not being really sure what to do with that, I left the box in the trunk of the car, where it has remained for two and a half years.

I remember New Years of 1999.  Addy was in the hospital, and refused to let us stay with her to see the New Year in.  She sent us off to party.  New Years had never really been the same to Jim since 1996, when his father died on December 30th, so we just headed out to the country with a bottle of champers and some paper cups.  We parked on a little hill, and sat there, waiting to see if all the lights were going to go out, or if airplanes were going to fall out of the Texas sky...or if any of the dire predictions made in advance of that moment would come true.  Reassured, we kissed, toasted, watched fireworks and went home.  Jim said it was the best New Years ever.

Last year, I worked on the New Years show at Sam Bass, because the previous two celebrations had not been particularly celebratory.  It's hard to be at a party, watching all the couples kissing, when your own kissee is gone forever.  It's just as hard to sit at home watching the ball drop, and the other ball drop, and the other ball drop, drinking champers alone.  At least, at the theater, I'm among friends, and nobody notices who is or is not being kissed.  You'd think, at my age, that such things would no longer matter, but such is not the case.  I guess it's true that inside every old woman there's a young one, who hasn't quite got the message the mirror is trying to convey.

One of these years, I'm going to wake up and notice that I've forgiven Jim, but that hasn't happened yet.  That shot still echoes through my heart.


  1. I miss him too...I'm mad at him too, you're not alone Ronni, though you were excellent as Mrs. Prior, I still like you as just plain Ronni best!

  2. Thank you, cici! That means a lot to me!

  3. You have a right to be angry. Much has been written about suicide, mostly trying to explain why one would choose that option. Little has been written about the aftermath and trauma to those left behind. I have watched my own daughter"s struggles and that of her children when her husband committed suicide on the youngest child's 8th birthday.

    Time helps, not a lot, but it helps. Blessings

  4. :HUGS: to you, Ronni, and I second what Cici said!

  5. dearest ronni,
    you were not "best at being mrs. prior."

    you ARE and WILL EVER BE be the BEST at being YOU (in all of your roles, incarnations, and just being....)

    jim 's ashes leaking in certain spots means that is where he wanted to have little remnants of of himself scattered about. i am sure he is kicking himself at the pain he has caused you. please forgive him.

    he felt he had to leave and he did. you are a courageous, brilliant.creative woman --- you have a million talents. yes, i bet you were a fantastic mrs. prior
    but that is just one facet of your brilliant life..

    but please.... you are so much more than that. you are many things to many of us.

    grammar queen

    i hope that the sounds you hear include the voices of your friends
    telling you how much you mean to us and how much we love you.

    happy new year. may many good things come your way in deserve it!

    love you!

  6. well dammmit! i had a typo!

    a double
    "of of"

    that's why i need you . well that and a million other reasons!

  7. Just saw this Ronni... YOU are the BEST you there can ever be. I'm with Cici.

  8. Thank you all for your kind words. After blocking Act II of "Steely Mags," I need all the help I can get!

  9. Ronni:

    Happy New Year. I am just catching up with your blogs and I saw this one.

    I remember that New Year's of 1999 - 2000 too. My Jim and I went to Philly for the holiday and had a wonderful time. Our resolution was to never use the word Millenium after the stroke of midnight. And we didnt.

    The holiday was our favorite--it is very quiet for me now too. I actually believe the mirror and know that no one will be kissing me at midnight and I have gotten over that. . but going home alone and knowing I will awake to another year alone has been a nagging sadness that I have failed to overcome.

    I heard a song lyric recently that goes. . "I have learned to live half a life" and I thought it described me. By this year I am vowing to realize that half a life for me now would be submitting to a relationship just to be with someone--when I actually have a full life in which my Jim was once a major player. And life goes on. . .

    Suicide is a dirty trick to those of us left behind--that is for sure. You write so well about that pain and I am sad for you when I read your blog--but relieved that I do not struggle alone to figure how the answer to why it happened.

    Best always,