Category: Grief

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.



 

Living in memory

You try and kid yourself, you join a bereavement group, you volunteer at the local library, you distract yourself by putting extraneous posts on your blog, you try to get back out into the real world, but the reality is you don’t have a life, you don’t have the energy, the will, so you sit in the former “living room” and you dwell in the memory of your wife, whose photos are on the mantel, and you watch old movies, often with the sound turned down so you have the silence to live in her memory, her memory is a sanctum sanctorum and you are inside it and she is still alive, and you’re smoking again and of course you drink a lot, gin in the summer and rum in the winter and Jack Daniel’s whatever the season and you oh so smoothly slip into a tolerable haze, imbued at bedtime by Xanax which helps you sleep and you sleep until noon and your first thought on waking is, five hours to cocktail hour and the beginning of the haze, the sanctum, the illusion she is still alive.


 

Wild party on County Road 9

You try. You try to get through the death of your wife. You got through the death of two brothers and your son. Why is it so hard to get through the death of your wife?

For one thing, your wife helped you get through those deaths, especially the death of your son. That was a tough one. You went crazy. You wanted to kill yourself. Your wife stopped you.

You can’t do that. It won’t help Will. And I need you. 

You went on. You lived through the nightmare. Years passed. Your wife was always there for you.

And then she fell ill. Ambulances came wailing in the night. Emergency vehicles flashed their lights. Medics worked frantically at her bedside, their faces taut with urgency.

And then the inevitable night ride to emergency. A grim scenario played out before, but this night they could not save her.

And now you live alone. You try. You try to get over. You join a bereavement group. You volunteer at the local library. You go back to the empty house. You have no immediate family left. You’ve stopped waiting for the phone to ring. You read a lot. You drink a lot. Gin is a lifesaver. Until it isn’t. But Xanax is, every time.

You put seemingly hopeful posts on your blog (obviously this is not one of them). You try to get off the subject of death.

But you know you’re kidding yourself. All you know is, you want your wife back. And the rest of what you know is, she’s never coming back.

Your wife was a believer. She believed in something after death. But you can’t wrap your head around that. You are twice bereft — of your wife, and of belief.

Not a good place to be in an empty house on County Road 9.