Aftermath – Part One

By: Anne Corke

Feb 27 2014

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Category: Life stories

1 Comment

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So here I am. Thirty days ago, I was the centre of attention due to my new status as a widow. The phone was ringing, cards were piling up in my mailbox, flowers were being delivered, people were dropping by. But now all is quiet as I slowly work through my grief. Everyone has gone back to their own lives as they should. It’s just that I can’t because my old life is gone. I have to create a new life for myself but first I have to give myself time to heal.

Grief manifests itself in so many ways. I am weary, achy and completely unfocused. My mind is running off in all directions. I can’t concentrate on anything. My book project lies temporarily abandoned. My to-do list grows longer every day. I’m trying to look after the immediate legal necessities to reactivate my cash flow and pay the bills. The day-to-day chores, looking after the dogs, making meals, washing dishes and laundry, are accomplished and I fall into bed exhausted only to toss and turn as my mind races on. It seems strange that I should be so tired when I no longer have Gary to care for. I long for the day when I can forget Gary’s suffering, when I can erase the image of him languishing in his hospital bed and instead remember him as he was when he was healthy. I am angry and bitter that such a terrible illness was visited upon such a decent person, that it stole him from Jeremy and I long before his time. My heart breaks when I hear Sophie at bedtime barking for her Daddy.

And yet, I consider myself very blessed. I have thirty years of memories of Gary. I have my number one son Jeremy and my daughter-in-law-to-be Amanda nearby. I have my family and my close friends who continue to support me as they have always done. I have good neighbours who are always willing to lend a hand. I have two naughty terriers to keep me company, and occasionally drive me crazy. Life may be a bit rough at the moment, but it’s still good.

Vincent Van Gogh wrote:

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.

Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means. To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”

I’d like to think that Gary travelled by that “celestial means of locomotion” to his star.

Copyright 2014 Anne Corke

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One comment on “Aftermath – Part One”

  1. Dear Anne:

    First let me say how sorry I am that you and your family must experience this grief. I was unaware of your husband’s passing until I read this today.

    Secondly, I have experienced the grief of losing a spouse albeit everyone’s grief is different. Your posts on Linkedin are most interesting and often informative. I am not only sending you condolences for your loss but a great deal of respect for the courage and strength put forward writing this piece about life, your life. It may be therapeutic, I’m not sure. I experienced many of the emotions you are going through at the time and would not have been able to put thoughts or feelings from pencil to paper, let alone share it with people. You have my great admiration.

    You won’t remember me, I’m sure. I know you from East Central Therapy Dogs. Your life thoughts were heartfelt and food for thought and I hope you don’t mind me sending off this little comment to you now.

    Please take care. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sandra Delaney


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