A few weeks ago as I was doing laundry, I noticed that I had already done a few loads of dark laundry, and still had more to go. My first thought was "that's weird, I don't ever remember washing this many dark clothes before."
For whatever reason, this thought took me by surprise. It may seem obvious to some of you, because we have 7 people in our house now, so of course I would be doing more laundry. But that wasn't the realization. It was because most of Steve's laundry is dark - he prefers darker colors. And I realized that for some reason, I was surprised that it wasn't like Jeremy's. And my subconscious automatically went to "before" meaning before Jeremy died.
What's weird is that I rarely compare Steve to Jeremy. They have a lot of similar qualities - mostly the good ones - which is why I love them both so. But they are very different. Whenever those thoughts come in my head, I try to be gracious to myself and to Steve to remember that not only is he different, but so am I. But, I'm human and I love two men both at the same time so I'm not so naive to think that those thoughts wouldn't creep in once in awhile.
Jeremy didn't do it that way. What would he say in this situation? Steve handled this so much better than Jeremy would have. Jer would have handled this better. Jeremy would have known what do about this problem. Jeremy would remember this reference. Steve hasn't figured this part out yet. Jeremy never figured that out. I wish Steve and I could have share this memory, too. I wish Jeremy wasn't missing this.
The truth is, these kinds of thoughts can plague widow(er)s in new relationships. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I'm ok with wrestling with these things. Maybe it's because I won't ever apologize for loving and continuing to love Jeremy. Maybe it's because I won't apologize for loving Steve as much. Maybe it's because Steve is great about talking through these things with me without feeling threatened. Either way, these fleeting thoughts remind me that I have lived two separate lives that continue to overlap in my heart. And that's ok.
Today, as I was folding laundry, I remembered that thought from a few weeks ago and smiled. The bottom line is that I miss doing laundry for Jeremy and grieved a weird, tiny piece of my life that maybe I hadn't before. And I smiled because I was thankful to be able to do laundry for Steve, whether it was dark, light, or pink and polka dotted (ok, that might not be so great!). It's ok that it looks different. It should. They're both equally important and meaningful. One does not negate the other.
Sometimes all it takes is a silly moment of folding the laundry to change your world.