Consider, if you will, the plight of Timothy T. Terwilliger…
It has been one year and seven months since the death of his wife but in his mind it is as though she just vanished. Poof! One minute she was here and the next minute she was gone.
Mr Terwilliger still looks at the empty armchair in the living room in disbelief. In bed he looks at the empty pillow in disbelief. He reaches over and touches it. She is definitely not there. Was she ever there? Was it a dream? He cannot recall the details of her not being there.
Images come and go. Holding her hand in the ICU, a machine humming or beeping, he cannot remember which but it was either humming or beeping or a combination of the two.
He does not remember phoning her sister and her brother, sometimes he remembers phoning them but he does not remember what was said but they tell him he phoned them, phoned them several times.
He thinks he remembers a priest coming into the room but in the next second he does not remember a priest in the room. He thinks he remembers a nurse saying it was time to turn off the machine but in the next second he does not remember anyone saying that.
Mr Terwilliger does remember someone from hospice driving him home and he remembers hoping the man would come into the house with him but the hospice guy just dropped him off and drove away and that surprised him and he went into the house by himself and walked from room to room knowing his wife was not in any of the rooms because he remembered leaving her in the hospital room and then in the next moment he did not remember leaving her in the hospital room.
He remembers sitting in an armchair in the living room for what seemed like days, sitting there alone and the phone never rang and no one came to the door and the days must have been separated by nights but he cannot remember that either because he cannot remember ever going into the bedroom and getting into bed and sleeping.
It was like nothing had happened because he could not remember anything. He was in a vacuum, like the first moments of regaining consciousness after you black out. He thinks he thought he was losing his mind but he was not sure of that either.
All he knows is that one year and seven months later nothing has changed. The silence, the dead phone, the dead doorbell, the vacuum. The nights, the days, all one. One year and seven months is a long time to be in the first moments of regaining consciousness after you black out.
Sometimes he thinks he is dead. But if he is dead, who drank the contents of all those empty liquor bottles?