I remember the evening of the accident more vividly than anything. My husband was hours late for dinner and a call confirmed my worst fears—he had died in a car crash. Just like that. No warning at all. Now I’m forced to live with the knowledge that I never got to say goodbye to my husband before he died, or more importantly, ask him what all these damn TV remotes do.
It’s been four years since the fatal car crash and to this day, I still regret not asking him. I had so many opportunities, so many chances to admit that I had no clue how to turn on our own television set without his help. Sometimes he appears to me in a dream with a message; I just wish that message were a thorough run-down on what all these buttons do.
Grief is a heavy burden. So is electronic troubleshooting. I’ve tried to learn how to operate the TV on my own, but every couple of months a new remote seems to pop up out of nowhere. In 2012 I had three remotes, but by 2014 there were six. It’s 2016 now, and I’ve accumulated 11 different remotes, all of which have some connection to our home entertainment system. Are you sending me a sign, Frank? Can the sign include which remote is for surround sound and cable and which one is just for cable?
Do we even have cable? I just always assumed.
Some days are easier than others. I wish I could tell Frank how much I love him, kiss him, and whisper into his ear to ask what remote is the one that turns the volume down. I’ve had The Ellen Show playing for six months now at volume 96 with no clue how to turn it off. Other days it’s easier; I sit on the remotes to hit a bunch of buttons at once and the TV will power down.
Is it the black remote, Frank?! Please just give me a clue. I’ve tried the white one on everything and I have a feeling it controls the Blu-Ray player. What about the long and skinny one? The TV seemed to make a sound when I pressed that one. It has to be one of those three remotes, I just know it, Frank! I miss you so much.
There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about what I should’ve said to Frank before he died. Alas, I can’t change the mistakes I made. I just wish he could have held on long enough for me to see him at the hospital, look into his eyes and tell him: You are the love of my life, and I don’t know how to turn on the TV without you.