The last couple of years of Jack’s life, he washed the dishes. When he first came home from the hospital and rehab after his fall on the ice, he couldn’t do much of anything, and he hated that.
We had always shared household work: in our early years, our practice was that one of us would cook and the other would wash the dishes. But after many years, when it became clear that Jack usually washed dishes as he cooked, while I used lots of bowls and utensils and pots, and didn’t wash as I went along, he rebelled. We then switched the plan to whoever cooked also washed dishes. And in our later years, Jack always wanted no dishes left in the sink in the evening, so if we had a late dessert, someone would have to wash those dishes.
After he died, I was left with many conflicting feelings. I now had to cook and wash the dishes all the time, and in the first couple of years I would sometimes feel irrationally angry at Jack for leaving me to do all the work, all of the time. At the same time, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to wash whatever dish I put in the sink late in the evening, and often left one there just because I could. And when I went out in the evening, I often didn’t think about there being dishes in the sink that would have to be washed, sometime.Lately, I have started thinking about that. If I come home at 9:30, or 10, or 11, I don’t want to wash dishes then. I now plan to wash any dishes in the afternoon when I know I’ll be out later. Tonight, I went into the kitchen a few minutes before leaving and saw those dishes sitting there in the sink. I stopped and washed them, and it only took three minutes. I felt good.
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