I remember being so angry at the sunlight. What right did it have to shine when my husband was dead? What right did it have? Why couldn’t it stay clouded? Why couldn’t it stay night?
I wanted to sleep all the time. I remember waiting for the sun to go down, waiting for night so I could sleep. When I was sleeping he wasn’t dead. When I was sleeping, I didn’t know he was dead. I could deny the facts. There was that nanosecond between sleep and waking when I didn’t remember. But then, of course, I would. He wasn’t there next to me in bed anymore. My heart would cave in on itself and I would try to go back to sleep, but how much can a person sleep? I was averaging about ten hours with the help of alcohol.
There isn’t enough alcohol in the world, though, to cure grief. It doesn’t really help you sleep either. It helps you crash, pass out, but no true rest comes from that drunk-sleep. You wake up after a few hours wishing your head would go on and explode already, wishing there was some form of instantaneous, intravenous … life water.
But the anger is better worked out by working, I have found. When Kent first died and when I could finally get out of bed I went to the garage and cleaned. I mean…cleaned. I pulled everything out, every shovel, hoe, cooler, rake, beach chair, tarp, broken chair, moldy book, mystery box, can of nails, discarded flower pot, every … single … thing. And then I cleaned. I swept cobwebs off the ceiling until my arms were shaking from the strain. I wrapped an old towel around a broom and washed the walls. I swept the dirt floor again and again and again. It took days but every night I was exhausted, and I slept.
It worked for a while, working. When it comes to death, nothing works forever. Not that I’ve found anyway.
What I have found is a way to not be angry at the sun, or old couples holding hands, or young couples holding hands.
Even the denial is fading. When Kent was alive he traveled all over the world. The many airport pick ups and drop offs, the many phone calls and flight checks. He always came home, though. It was easy to subconsciously believe he was just on another trip, that he would walk in the door any day. I guess that was my stage of denial. He’s just traveling. He’ll be back.
But he won’t. And like some leaves, dry and crumbly and frosted, I hang on. Even through winter, I hang on. What else can I do? Isn’t it the nature of life, to change? It’s the nature of living, anyway.
What do you think? Please leave a comment, ask a question, tell a story. I’m here.