What He’ll Never Know


Shel’s been gone from this world for four and three-quarters months now, and I’m having a hard time of it. I’ll think I’m doing better, and then suddenly, the no-Shel reality slaps me in the face once again.

I woke up in the middle of one night so sick I almost called 911. What stopped me was the realization that I couldn’t even get upstairs to open the door for them and I’d hate to see it broken into. Shel wasn’t here. I’ve been CT-scanned, ultra-sounded, and now antibiotic-ed, physical therapy-ed, and am feeling somewhat better. Shel never knew about any of it, and he wasn’t here to help me get through it.


He also doesn’t know that Zazou has been gone for the same three weeks that I’ve been sick. I’m so glad that he doesn’t know, because she loved him the most, and he’d have been so sad to lose her.


He doesn’t know that I had an 80th birthday party for our friend Sheila, and that I baked her this gorgeous cake. The last time I made this treat was for Shel’s own birthday, his very last birthday cake. I don’t even want to think about what jokes he told at his very last Thanksgiving, what I gave him for his very last Christmas. I still haven’t emptied his closet – those things he wore are so dear to me now, they touched him, still look like him.

I’ve written three articles for publication this month, so it hasn’t been all fainting couches and Kleenex, but I’m feeling it so deeply these days. He’s gone, he’s not coming back, just like Beppo and Zazou. It’s the end of an era, an era I loved above all my other time on Earth.  He’ll never know what I do next, how I feel, what I’ll become. He’ll never know how I die, and I guess that’s a good thing. He’ll never see how our sons turn out, won’t see Eric marry, won’t see my hair go grey, if it ever does.


His life is actually over. That’s so hard to fathom. I’m not a wife. That’s even harder to grasp. Alone on the day-to-day sea, trying to stay afloat.

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8 Comments on “What He’ll Never Know”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    One thing I keep learning about grief: it’s so unique and personal , but also shared by so many around each of us. It helps me move through the weeks knowing that others I admire and respect have moved through their weeks before me . Let’s hope that time lessens the pain’s sharpness. And that soon your health will be regained. Sending you love and empathy from across the Passage.

  2. Barry Twyman Says:

    Oh Abra, Yesterday I thought “Where is Abra?” now I know . Not a day goes by without me remembering your Man , his photo sits next to my laptop and every letter from the Bands we played in is silently passed on to him. Do recover and keep the flame alive …if only for us followers . Selfish but true . You are not alone I promise .
    Lots of Love,

  3. alain LAURENT Says:

    Nous partageons ta peine et t’embrassons très fort

  4. Michelle Says:

    Your words take me back to my own grief. It takes time.

  5. Dick Hall Says:

    Shel knows it all, Abra.

  6. nb Says:

    beautiful cake!

  7. .
    My husband died7 years ago but it feels like it was months ago.
    I feel like the Julian Barne’s quote in Flaubert’s Parrot
    Grief: You don’t emerge from it cleanly, as if from a tunnel into
    the sunshine. You come out of it as a gull comes out of an oil
    slick. You are tarred and feathered for life.

  8. Abra Bennett Says:

    Great quote, Mimi. I’d like to be more optimistic than that, but I’m not counting on it.

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