The Thirty-First of the Month

Dearest Rachel –

I never really gave much thought to the thirty-first of the month. Yes, certain things occurred on the last day of the month – bills to pay, income transferred, that sort of thing that was more or less routine – but nothing that could be considered upsetting in any way.

But these days, there’s the fact that this is the day I go through the 31st chapter of Proverbs as part of my morning reading. And I think you can see where this is going.

At the beginning of the Thanksgiving holidays, our church has had a tradition over the last few years of putting together a montage of photos of various members of the congregation with a small slate, upon which they would write what it was they were most thankful for. This, for instance, is the photo taken of us back in 2019, when that was still a thing:

Yes, I was thankful for the time we would finally be able to have together as a family, now that I had been able to retire and spend time with the two of you. None of us had any idea how ironic that would turn out to be – and how soon.

A few years previous, it was just you and I, and the slate simply read “Proverbs 31.” Because to me, you were that noble and virtuous wife, worth far more than rubies. Joanna read that passage at your memorial service, even.

And now, those jewels have been stolen from us.

The funny part is that the famous passage about the virtuous wife isn’t the entirety of the chapter; indeed, it’s not even how the chapter starts, as Joanna was caught off-balance when she started reading. It starts by introducing the writer, King Lemuel, and the words that his mother (who thus, in effect, is the true writer of Proverbs 31) taught him as a boy. While she does, of course, get to the part that the best a man can do for himself is to find a truly good woman as a helpmate, she also offers other advice to him, such as the fact that, as a ruler, he should stay away from things that would otherwise cloud his judgement, such as beer and wine. However, she also suggests that they have their purpose…

Give ·beer [T strong drink] to people who are ·dying [perishing]
    and wine to those ·who are sad [who have bitter hearts].
Let them drink and forget their ·need [poverty]
    and remember their ·misery [or hard work] no more

Proverbs 31:6,7, Expanded Bible

With that in mind, might that be considered a recommendation for me this weekend to join one or another of the room parties (or the nightly bacchanalia on the Riverwalk), and just drink myself stupid? I may not be dying, but I do occasionally find myself conscious of the bitterness in my heart, and I would certainly like to drown out the misery of your loss.

However, I’m pretty sure this is more along the lines of what Erin was thinking of when she mentioned that I was trying to find easy solutions to my problems. This won’t solve anything, and of course, there’s always the morning after when you realize that whatever you did the night before – if you can even remember it – only served to make matters worse. Especially if you forgot to pack any aspirin.

So yeah, I’m not about to do something like that.

At the same time, I’m surprisingly appreciative that not every month has the full complement of thirty-one days, so I can go through a full month without having to deal with the fact that I lost my ‘good wife.’ Granted, July – and August – aren’t those kinds of months, so I’m going to have to face it both now, and again in another month.

I could use a little extra strength, honey.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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