From Darkness, Light


I awoke expecting to feel gutted, on this, the second anniversary of the day Shel died, which was the worst day of my life. I had long envisioned misery, had prepared for it as for an arduous journey. As part of that, I decided to take the advice of hospice, which I had previously scorned, that alcohol and drugs make grief worse, and hadn’t altered my consciousness with anything but the scent of my plum tree in bloom for the past three days.

In anticipation of sorrow, and also because my back was sore from raking in the vineyard, I had slept in my recliner, which always feels like sleeping enveloped in a giant hug. Minou slept in my lap, on the fuzzy blue blanket that Shel used to wrap himself in, and instead of waking me up by knocking random things off my desk as he normally might, he snuggled and purred gently until I felt ready to face the day.

I got up slowly, waiting to feel fragile. I had thought about not going to school, lest I burst into tears in the middle of answering a question about soil micronutrients. I solemnly made myself a comforting breakfast.

And then, I found myself washing dishes, making phone calls I’d been neglecting, doing a little homework, dressing for a warm day, zipping up my backpack, and letting my car follow the well-worn path between my house and school, where I spent an absolutely normal day.

Coming home to a lovely warm afternoon on the patio, I was so tempted by a bottle of rosé in the fridge. And I thought two things about that. One was that maybe they were right, maybe I felt better because I hadn’t been drinking at all. And the other was that I should be feeling worse, that it was unfaithful of me to be spending this day without dissolving into a puddle of sadness. And so I tried, I really did. I thought about all the things that usually tear me apart, about everything I lost on the day Shel died, about how profoundly shattering it was to watch his beautiful light go out. For the first time in two years tears didn’t come to my eyes at the thought of it all. I’m staying away from that rosé though, just in case.

Perhaps later, as darkness falls upon me, grief will accompany it, although I don’t feel it lying in ambush. I wish Shel were here to see the new life I’m slowly making for myself, how I’ve navigated living alone for two years with only Minou for constant comfort, and even to see my tearless eyes on this momentous day. I think he’d be really proud of me.

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8 Comments on “From Darkness, Light”

  1. Marcy Buchan Says:

    You have turned the corner on grieving and moving on with your life. A new career awaits you which to me sounds exciting and interesting! Go Girl!

  2. Chuck and Jane Says:

    We’re proud of you too, Abra. Sending lots of love…miss you!
    Chuck and Jane

  3. Byron Warner Says:

    I’m proud of you, too. Grief is hard.

  4. Jan Harding Says:

    Perhaps you will always grieve, but do it in changing ways and different degrees as you move forward. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.

  5. cigalechanta Says:

    it will be nine years since my husband died. He didn’t want to go into hospice, so I took care of him as I watched him shrink before my eyes. When you love someone you can’t live without, and your heart is badly broken and the bad news is that you never get completely over it. But the good news is they live in that broken heart that doesn’t seal up, and you come through it like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly., that hurts when the weather gets cold-but you learn to dance with a limp.I try to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

  6. Henk and Greet Siera-Goffin Says:

    …and so are we. Big hug from both of us.

  7. Life never ceases to amaze us.

  8. Nicole Says:

    Ghosts don’t drag you toward their light.
    They make it brighter here for you.

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