We got something like 13.5″ of snow over the last 24 hours here in Boulder, Colorado. Looks like I’ve got some shovelin’ to do! It’s okay. I see it as a much-needed upper body workout (I say without having yet lifted a finger). :}
One of my brothers – Eric – committed suicide in 1988. It’s been a long time. I forgot how bereaved I was but my long-time therapist hasn’t. She reminded me recently that I was beside myself.
The way I picture my grief over Eric’s death now is it’s like a room in my head. It’s a room that that I go to now and then. When I open the door to that room it looks just like it did the day Eric died. Nothing has changed. The huge NOOOOOO! is still there.
I thought about Eric every hour of every day for about a year. Then I didn’t. I remembered him as he was but not as often though that room was still there. And it still is, though I don’t open that door as often or go into that room as frequently I did years ago. But, it’s still there. In my head.
We don’t “get over” losing someone. This is what we do:
This is how the trashy New York Post announced the death of Celine Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil:
It isn’t just a rag like the New York Post that frames the death of a cancer patient this way, it’s common; it’s everywhere: The patient lost the so-called “battle.”
The implication is that the cancer patient didn’t fight hard enough, that maybe the person was weak or gave up. So unfair and so unrealistic. It’s cancer for god sake. Is that a disease we routinely “win” a battle with? No. It’s as preposterous as a headline announcing that my husband “lost his battle with hydrocephalus” after his fall. He did everything he could to live but the hydrocephalus (fluid) caused his brain to die as it slowly filled his skull and crushed his brain tissue. How in the hell was Dan supposed to “battle” that? Likewise with Mr. Angelil. He cancer cells were dividing and spreading. How was he supposed to “battle” that? Physical things happen that kill people. There’s no “battling” them.
Anyway, rest in peace Rene Angelil. Sorry about the idiotic headline.
Watch the delightful Justin Lane, who can’t be more than ten or 11, give a most sensitive, sweet review of West Side Story:
What a great kid.
It’s Christmas Eve. Tomorrow marks the five-month anniversary of Dan’s death.
I remember Christmas Eves past. We’d tease about opening presents early. Sometimes we did and sometimes didn’t. Sometimes we had a fancy meal and sometimes we didn’t. Sometimes we stayed up late and sometimes we didn’t.
No matter what we did, I remember going to bed knowing he and I and the dogs were tucked in our bed, safe and sound with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.
I remember making ham and potatoes au gratin with lots of mustard and Gruyere.
I remember knowing we’d take the dogs for a walk no matter how icy or windy it was because Dan insisted. They were good dogs and they deserved it he said (and he was right).
I remember Dan enjoying the lights on our living room wreath — and that warming my heart.
I remember stroking his hair then and this summer when I wheeled him around the nursing home grounds in May and June.
I remember how he hugged my leg with his arm when I stood next to his wheelchair seven days before he died when I found him folded over at the waist because he couldn’t hold his torso up anymore.
Back then, at least, Dan was alive. ALIVE! I could smell him. I could touch him. I could see him. I could kiss him. I could tell him I loved him. I could hold him. I could feel his warmth and send him mine.
Now Dan is dead. His life on this Earth over. It will never be again.
Dan didn’t want to be dead at 64.
Its Christmas Eve and I’m numb. Frozen in grief. Empty. Hollowed out. Almost immobile. I’m walking through life like a zombie. I send a card here and there. I wave at a neighbor…thanking them for caring…hoping they know how much I appreciate their support but only having enough energy to do that wave.
I’m looking forward to January 1. At least the first “holiday season” without Dan will be over by then. Maybe the New Year will bring some relief.
I love you Dan. I’ll love you forever.