Here’s the thing: many know that there are stages of grief and that everyone goes through them differently. Many also know that there is no such thing as “getting over” grief; you only slip and slide through it.
But nowhere yet have I encountered any article, any book, telling me there is an other-worldly component to grieving.
*After posting the sad news on social media about my husband’s sudden death, and receiving many prayers, thoughts, and virtual hugs, I woke up at two in the morning barely a week later and posted an important update: I desperately needed coffee NOW. The background I chose was a plethora of smiley faces, all laughing hysterically. (I’m sure many friends were scratching their heads.)
*I walked into the Acme supermarket, stood near the rice and burst into quiet tears. My recently departed spouse hardly ever bought that particular brand of rice. Or any rice. We didn’t even have rice thrown at us at our wedding. It was raining and soggy rice just wouldn’t have cut it.
*I’m humming Christmas songs long after the decorations are put away and we’re segueing towards spring. And there’s no holly jolly in them–“I Wonder as I Wander,” “Silent Night,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
*Just like in pregnancy, I have cravings. Right now I crave dark chocolate; it’s what’s for breakfast (and maybe lunch and dinner). Next week it might be pomegranates, whatever they taste like.
*Even though I am deep into the fun of menopause, I’m stacking sweaters on top of sweaters to ward off an imaginary chill. I wobble instead of walking.
*I cut my finger on the envelope of a sympathy card and, amazed at the red stuff and the knife-like pain, thought, how appropriate. No, my husband did not die of a paper cut. No blood was lost on his part. Probably a reminder that I’m still alive and kicking.
* I shudder when I am referred to as a widow. It conjures up thoughts of ancient women wearing black gauzy veils over their faces and smelling of decaying carnations. Give me my makeup and fragrant tea roses and a glass of chardonnay, and call me “the surviving spouse” instead.
–Anne Skalitza, 2019