A grieving woman finds therapy in music.
| I finally stopped crying. I didn’t start until after the funeral. I held myself together during his illness and after he passed. There were things to do, arrangements to make, people to greet. They mean well. I’ve been in their shoes. A person does’t know what to say or do. He just wants to help. You can’t get mad because they’re annoying you with their help and well wishes and sympathy. You have to be strong. I was strong.
Then, after it was all final, and all but a few guests had left, I was alone. I ran off the last ones tidying up, saying I wanted to sleep. But I didn’t sleep. I sat down on the floor and wailed. My best friend, my life partner had died. How could the world go on? How could I go on, like everything was okay? I spent two days with the doors locked and phones unplugged. I didn’t turn on the light when it got dark.
I did send out a few emails, telling the kids, the pastor, and a few others that I needed to be alone for a while, but I was fine. I had to keep them from barging in. I sat on the floor in the bedroom one night, just running my fingers over his ties, his cuff links, and his keys. I lay on his side of the bed and held his bottle of after shave, just sniffing occasionally, to remember his presence.
This morning, I was just numb. No tears were left. I took a few phone calls about insurance and other necessities. I let Eunice know that she could come over next week and do thank you notes for me. They say grief has four time periods: the first day, the first week, the first month, the first year. Each period is a different level of intensity. Just let me have my week alone, then they can come help, a little at a time. Leah wanted to bring a casserole, but I said no. Maybe next week, she could bring some fruit salad or plain vegetables.
I turned the phone off again and sneaked into the attached garage. I touched his tennis racket and his golf clubs. He hadn’t been fishing in years, but there was all his gear. I opened the car and sat in the driver’s seat. He would never drive me any where again. When I had problems he took me to the doctor. I never had to go alone like so many women. I couldn’t decide if I want to hold onto these things, his toys, a bit longer, or if I want to see if the kids want them before I post them for sale.
I opened the console box, and there were his CD’s. I grabbed them and headed back into the house.
In the family room, I turned on the CD player and popped one in without looking. I crumpled onto the floor next to the ottoman. Louis Armstrong’s clear voice came out the speakers. He sang “What A Wonderful World”. I thought of my handsome man listening to this. He would like it. It was a wonderful world with him in it. My tears started again.
I recalled the picnics we took, playing with the kids, holding hands on our walks. We watched the birds in the bird bath out back and on the feeder he hung over the deck. We had flower beds that he mulched for me every year. I remember sitting in the car with him one night after leaving a restaurant on a hill. We just sat there watching the orange sun setting over the valley. We basked in its beauty. That’s the kind of man he was. He saw beauty in all of nature and people.
When the song was over, I played it again. I was still teary, but at least not wailing. I was . . . I was overcome, yes, with joy. This wonderful man had been a part of my life, still was a part of my life. He made my world beautiful and full and happy. I am so blessed to have been with him all those years.
I smiled for the first time in ages. Oh, I will miss him. I might be lonely. But I wouldn’t have missed any of it to avoid the pain I’ve just felt. I would do it all again. I played the song again. I stood swaying, remembering him. I will survive. It really is a wonderful world.