Category: Grief

Shell shock routine

Grief by any other name is still hell

Grief counselors are now referring to prolonged grieving as an “adjustment disorder.” What kind of b.s. language is that?

To me, the grief of losing a life companion, a loved one, a soulmate or a family member is hell on earth. There are some things in life to which one may never, or should, become “adjusted.”

This “adjustment disorder” bull reminds me of the George Carlin routine where he ridicules America’s penchant for euphemisms. 


Grief, by the way, is quite a business. Grief counselors charge up to $200 an hour.

But, don’t despair, like any commercial enterprise, there are always bargains out there. How about these online offers:

Grief is Lonely — Special Promo — Save 25% now! Call —

50% Off This Weekend Only — No. 1 Rated

Grief support to your phone for only $99 $74.25. Personalized based on your loss.

Okay, so $74.25 is a helluva deal, no way to beat that, and I know grief counseling can help a lot of people (who have the money), but to me, the idea of making any money off someone’s grief is not cool.

At the medical clinic I go to, all the doctors accept my health insurance — with an acceptable co-pay. The only ones who don’t are—yeah!—the grief counselors. They want cold hard cash.

So I say screw that, and go home to my cat. She’s a good listener. I talk to her about my loss and she listens and she doesn’t give me any b.s. and mess with my head. And her only fee is salmon on a small plate and a little lovin’.

I’m cool with that.

The Cat God turns into the Cat Devil

This is what happens when a grieving husband runs out of Xanax:

I screamed at the cat tonight. For the third night in a row, she knocked down the pictures of my wife I keep on the mantel in the living room (now known as the dead room—yet I continue to inhabit it).

I went crazy. I would never hurt the cat — her name is Bella, who I got for my wife Susan when her illness became a lethal presence in our home — or any animal for that matter. But, nonetheless, tonight I yelled and screamed at her like a madman. 

Since Susan’s death last Christmas, Bella is all I have, and I’m all she has. She thinks I am (and I say this as humbly as I can) the Cat God.

But when I yelled at her tonight I told her I was the Cat Devil and that I had killed the Cat God and taken over the house and I howled like a crazy Cat Devil, and Bella — who had assumed a half-hidden supine position on top of the bookcase — looked at me with detached curiosity and I told her, in my Boris Karloff voice, “You think I’m mad, don’t you?”

She just kept looking at me with the feline equivalent of ‘arched eyebrows’ as I continued my mad speech: “Well, let me tell you, I’m glad I’m mad! I’m glad I’ve gone mad, because I prefer insanity over the reality of living without Susan — the Cat Mama to you.”

Whereupon Bella jumped down from the bookcase and trotted over to my armchair and looked at me with a look that said: “I understand. I miss her too.”

Alone at Cocktail Hour

He decides to live in her memory

This is the only option he can see.

The few people he knows get annoyed

That he lives alone in a void.

Look for someone else, he’s often told,

And do it soon before you’re too old.

Go out, find another companion,

Go together to the Grand Canyon.

Or hop on a flight to old Cancún

There’s a woman waiting under the moon.

Not the least interested, he tells them

I have a much simpler stratagem.

What, pray tell, to just sit there and brood?

Look, they add, we don’t mean to intrude

But your gloom is seriously chronic.


He sits alone with his gin and tonic

Down it goes and he makes another

Thinking only of his wife and lover.

On the fifth gin he begins to weaken

If he wants friends he must go and seek them.

He decides to drive to the local bar

And order a fine wine and Arctic char.

He staggers a bit when he steps outside

And starts out on his bleary-eyed ride.

It’s dark now and the road is winding

The oncoming lights blurred and blinding.

A final blinding light ends his life

In that crashing flash he sees his wife.