That revelation in the heading came to me suddenly after a year of madness. That is the calm voice of reason — not to say it could be replaced in the wink of a tearful eye with the jackdaw of unreason.
The cry of the jackdaw has been filling this empty house ever since the death of my wife just before the Christmas before last. I have staggered insanely and stumbled drunkenly throughout the house we shared ranting and raving fevered laments for my lost wife — I want you back! I can’t go on without you! And so on and so forth.
If only you were still in the nursing home, I would cry out, then I could visit you — because you’d still be alive!
But, in lucid moments I had to admit that would be grossly and painfully unfair to her — hooked up to machines, no independence, no dignity. She was in four nursing homes in the last three years of her illness — necessary rehab after several hospitalizations.
The nursing homes ranged from hellish to life-saving. When I brought her home from he last one — Golden Hill in Kingston, New York — the very best, superlative, the one that put her back onto the road to recovery — we both looked foreword to Christmas and the new year and several more years together in our house in the Upstate New York countryside.
But then, just as she was getting better — Fate (God? What?) struck her down with a fatal blow — a brain hemorrhage from which she never recovered.
And so began the mad ranting and tearful raving in the house on County Rode 9. For more than a year, insanity raged throughout the house — damn good thing the nearest neighbor is not within shouting distance.
And then — just yesterday in fact, came the epiphany. In the middle of one of the tearful insane rants, a Buddha-type voice suddenly came into my head:
Let her go, man, don’t torment her with your selfish entreaties, let her soul rest, let her be at peace, let both of you be at peace. She’s never coming back, man. Cherish the memories of the years you were together, the places you visited, from Montreal to Copenhagen to Prague to Sydney, that’s all you have, man, those precious memories, treasure them, and honor her memory with courage and calm.
Damn, that Buddha in my head was a long-winded little fellah, but very cool stuff. I knew he was right — stop the desperate and pointless rants because they are upsetting and unsettling my wife in her place of rest — wherever it may be.
But, goddammit, the hardest thing in my life was losing her — the second hardest is letting her go.