Tag: Widower

The Floodgates of Heaven Opened and the Rain Falleth

It’s been raining all day here. A perfect day for staying inside and brooding. My bungalow is Noah’s Ark with just two creatures on board, the cat and I — unless I’m Noah (which is highly unlikely since Noah was 600 years old at the time), and Bella the cat is 7,000 different kinds of animals. Anything’s possible I suppose.

Searchers to this day are still looking for the Ark, even though there’s no historical or geological evidence of a flood of such Biblical proportions as written in Genesis 6-9.

The Ark, measured in cubits, was the equivalent of a vessel 450 feet long (135 meters), 75 feet wide (22.5 meters) and 45 feet high (13.5 meters).

That’s so much Biblically larger than my bungalow that I probably couldn’t fool the Searchers (although they do tend to sound a tad gullible), but since we’re suspending all disbelief here, the Ark searchers might just as well look no further than County Road 9, the structure on the corner with just two creatures on board, a slightly younger Noah and one cat.


My name is not Noah, of course, but I’ll say it is when they discover us, anything to get my name in the paper.

My name is Bill, nothing Biblical about that, and I do live in a bungalow, but I must hasten to point out that I am not ‘Bungalow Bill’ of the Beatles song.

I am not a “bullet-headed saxon mothers son” who hunts and shoots tigers for the hell of it. I wouldn’t even kill a mouse, or even a moth — I leave the killing to Bella.

hey bungalow bill”


But back to my brooding, which is what I do now. I’m getting pretty good at it. If they held a brooding contest, I bet I would win.

The prize would probably be a swift kick in the ass, which is seated now in an armchair by the window watching the sorry sky crying its pitiful heart out, so dark, even darker since the death of my wife.

This would be a perfect day to be with her, inside this cozy bungalow, watching old movies or reading, just sitting in the living room together, just the two of us, with Bella on mouse patrol.

Around five o’clock we’d get into the cocktails, my wife and I, not the cat. It would still be raining. We wouldn’t care. We like the sound of rain on the roof. Like Eddie Rabbitt, we love a rainy night.

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!

The dead room

‘An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.’ — W.B. Yeats

An elderly man lives alone in a bungalow in Upstate New York.

An old friend halfway across the world sends him an email, acknowledging the elderly man’s wife’s birthday in two days. His wife died four days before Christmas of a brain hemorrhage. They had been together for thirty-four years. The elderly man has no surviving immediate family.

The old friend ends the email with this one word: grim.

The elderly man (feeling. — shame on him! — particularly sorry for himself that day) replies:

I am aware. And on that day, just like every other day, I will be alone in this hovel without her. No one will phone and no one will ‘drop in’ since I have no friends here. My wife was my whole life. I will sit in a chair in a room outside the ‘dead’ room with this image of her sitting in her armchair in the former living room:



Indestructible atoms

A man lives alone in northern New Hampshire. He is seventy years old. His second wife died two months ago. They had no children. A son from his first marriage died many years ago at the age of twenty-three.

Chest pains wake him at four in the morning. He sits up in bed and looks out the bedroom window. It’s a picture window with no blinds. Moonlight illuminates a grassy slope leading down to a river. He can hear the sound of the river through the open window. Beyond the river, a woodland of birds, quiet now, and beyond that, two tiers of mountain ranges fading into darkness. It begins to rain.

During the day he sits in front of the window and watches a variety of birds flying in and out of the trees down by the river. Squirrels venture close to the house. An athletically beautiful doe often crosses the river and approaches the house. Once he saw a fox run along the bank of the river. He loves living here.

The nearest neighbor is three miles away. The nearest hospital is fifteen miles away.

The pain in his chest is severe. Is this it? he says to himself. It occurs to him that he should at least have a dog or a cat.

He gets out of bed and goes into the living room—the irony of living room amuses him—and fills a shot glass with Jack Daniel’s. Down it goes. A biting shudder to be followed by a smoothing calm. He pours another shot and sits in an armchair and watches the rain. He’s not worried about his fate.

He misses his wife—she wasn’t a great conversationist and she drank and smoked too much but she was good company—and always, every day, he misses his son. His son would be forty-eight now. Hard to believe. Twenty-five years of life he didn’t have.

When he saw his son’s body in the coffin all those years ago he touched the young man’s chest. It was as hard and hollow as a barrel. This is not my son, he said to the funeral director. I don’t know where he is, but this is not him. The funeral director nodded politely.

The man talked to an Indian guru about his dead son. “Don’t worry about your son, man, your son’s all right.” The guru told the man he would see his son again. “Imagine both of you walking along together, totally happy, knowing and seeing all, and that walk will last five minutes or five thousand years.”

The man didn’t understand what the guru was saying but he would love to take that walk. In reality, though, he doesn’t suppose his son is anywhere. So what he wants to know is: How do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death—No, that’s not it, that’s e.e. cummings—what he wants to is, what happens to the billions of indestructible atoms that make up the human body and mind?—Indestructibility must count for something.To put it bluntly and simplistically, he wonders if, in fact, or even in fantasy, he will “see” (an ambiguous word for some kind of reunion or communication or sense of presence) his son again. His head and all the science say no, but his screaming heart says yes.

During these reflections his chest pains subside. Half the whiskey has gone and now he has a taste for coffee. It is five in the morning and the rain has stopped. If he sits up for another hour he will see the sun rise over the furthest mountain range and he will see the birds and the squirrels begin their day. Perhaps today he will see the fox again.