Everything is the way she left it

In the closet

The red coat she wore on the last day of her life is still in the closet. And her jackets and dresses. Her shoes and boots. Her blouses and other garments are in the chest of drawers. Her sweaters are in the cedar chest. He sometimes think about packing them up and taking them to Goodwill. But he never does.

The dishes and glassware and cutlery are as she left them in the kitchen cupboards. Thirteen months ago. He barely uses them. He eats take-out and frozen dinners.

The only piece of furniture that he frequents is the drink cabinet. It is full with bottles of gin and vodka and rum and tequila and bourbon and brandy and several liqueurs.

He lives with a cat. His wife’s cat. He drinks alone. The cat sits in his wife’s empty armchair and watches him drink, wondering if this will be another night of 80-proof railing and wailing.

The old man has no immediate family left. He has been invited to move to places where he has some extended family and a few friends — Florida, South Carolina, Northern Michigan. He thinks about moving. But he never does. He tells them he’s too old to move. The will, the life have left him.

So he sits in his bungalow and drinks. He reads C.S. Lewis and The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton, and other spiritual literature in the hope that he will “see the light,” as the saying goes.

The other night he made the cat jump when he suddenly yelled: “I have seen the light — and it is black!”

The cat didn’t think it was funny, but the old man laughed his drunken ass off.

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Anniversary of death looms like doomsday

How do you get through the first anniversary of the death of your wife, your life companion, your soulmate?

You can’t be with friends who knew her, and celebrate her life together because none of them lives nearby.

So, since you’ll be alone, do you tough it out and re-live the good times in your mind and get good and drunk in the process?

Do you try and ignore it and pretend it’s just another day in the 365 days of sorrow and loneliness that preceded it?

Or do you decide to handle it with poetic tragedy and on the day of her death fire a bullet into your brain?

The day looms in your mind as a personal doomsday that could “turn” either way.

I say “turn” because “anniversary” is from the Latin words annus for year and versus, past particle of vertere meaning “to turn.”

Drawing from another etymological tidbit, the Old English word for anniversary is mynddæg, which means “mind-day.”

Which brings one back to dealing with the day by reliving the good times in your mind, drinking to her memory and so forth. That would clearly be a “mind-day.”

Trying to ignore the day just wouldn’t work. So it seems the two choices are to end the loss and the sorrow once and for all, or to get out the Jack Daniels and deal with the loss and the sorrow by making it a mind-day.

I say let’s be a gentleman about this.

First anniversary of wife’s death