Tag: Inconsolable

Spiritual comfort for the bereaved — 80-proof guaranteed


Alcohol is god’s gift to the inconsolable.

If I may steal from an old joke: When people ask me if I have a drinking problem, I say, “No, I pretty well got it down.”

People who are okay with my hobby, ask me, What do you drink, mainly?

It kind of a seasonal thing with me — rum in the winter, tequila in the spring, gin in the summer, vodka in the fall, and brandy at bedtime whatever the season — and (I saved the best for last) the year-round favorite, Jack Daniels, so smooth, easy on your throat, unlike some whiskeys.

So, aided by the above 80-proof alcoholic beverages, I (please pardon the cliché) drown my sorrows, and I’ve had my share. But the damndest thing, I drown them for that night, but they ain’t dead, the next day they pop back up like bloated bodies in a sea of sorrow.

You can’t kill them. The only way to get rid of them permanently, is to drive them from your mind and the only way to do that is to off yourself, as the saying goes, which I’ve thought about just about every day these past ten months since my wife died. But I decided — with help from a certain person with the spiritually seductive name of Renata de Dios — not to do that.

‘Tis preferable, I concluded, to mellow out and fall into bed drunk, and, as Shakespeare penned, perchance to dream… Dreams of Susan, good ones, I pray, where we live over again parts of our life together. But even the goddamn guilt-ridden dreams I can handle, because when I wake, usually around noon, I shake them off and console myself with the thought that there are only five hours to cocktail hour.

Praise the Lord and pass the bottle.

Here’s to you, Dear Reader!

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.

Thus spake the inner self

Well, that was short lived — my excursion into the outside world of someone else’s tragedy. [See here]

A brief respite from my own self-absorbed misery, which, later that night, returned with a vengeance, as though to say, You think you can avoid me that easily, escape from yourself by immersing your morbid mind in someone else’s misery. No way, José (my inner self is not really Spanish, but it likes to assume different identities).

So you’re saying, I belligerently replied, that I will never be free of this burden of grief for my dead wife, not to mention two brothers and a son?

That’s exactly what I’m saying, said my ruthless inner self. Face it, amigo (oh, it’s on a Spanish kick tonight), you are inconsolable.

My immediate impulse was to tell my inner self to go fuck itself, but I poured myself another brandy and thought more upon it.

Okay, I said, summoning up as much conviction as I could, then so be it, inconsolable I shall be.

For the rest of your life, taunted my inner self.

Oh, so sorely tempted was I to tell it to go, well you know what, but I gulped down my brandy and declared, All right already, for the rest of my lousy life.

Wear it well, instructed my inner self, and bear it well, with courage and dignity. Do that for your wife, and the rest of them, but mostly for your wife.

Yes, of course, I pondered more to myself than to my inner self, she would have done that, had our fates been reversed.

Ah, oui, mon ami (what are you French now?!), now you’re catching on.

I think I can do that, I said.

You can do it, my inner self said, and now I’m going to bed — I’ll leave you to finish the brandy.