Who Are You?

Friends ask, somewhat anxiously, How are you? I try to smile and joke a little, but the truth is, I don’t know. I believe it is best not to cry all over one’s friends because they will get sick of it — and you.

And anyway I don’t know. One moment I am laughing, joyously planning the next year’s work for the magazine, reveling in friendships, companionship, and the luxury of human conversation. The next moment, with no warning, I am wandering around the house  in tears, not understanding why this grief, after so long, is still so strong.

I too should be sick of it, although this is the first time in a decade I have really been alone and able to grieve. A few times over the years it overcame me and I cried and cried in my perplexed love’s arms, but mostly I was pretty good, and took my grief “in small bites” in the bathroom, or at the stove, when no-one was looking.

Now it takes me by surprise, jumping out like my love on his happy days when he played peekaboo.

I tell myself sternly that this loss, this grief, is no  more than we all go through, many families with far more horrific losses and tales than this, my heart song. But measuring buckets of grief is like whistling in the rain. And I am half a widow and half not.

I know my friends rejoice that I am slowly regaining my energy and focus, my creativity, my ability to shake off those chains of caregiving.

But when I go to visit at the care home, my love looks at me, and sometimes cries with joy to see me, other times politely asks, Who are you?

They tell me he asks about me all the time.

They also say he is having difficulties finding the bathroom, and this sparks my realization that I spent hours a day and night helping find that place he knew he needed, waking up at 4….or  hastily dropping phone calls… only now when the care home mentions the difficulty do I remember how much time and attention this was taking every day and night. How sleep only came after that last bathroom visit at night was safely executed. No wonder I am still sleeping a full 8 to 10 hours a night, 8 weeks after the reprieve of his admittance.

In a strange moment of truth, I blurt out to the nurse on the phone, “Better you than me” and then gasp and apologize. She laughs and says, “It’s okay. I have broad shoulders.”


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4 responses to “Who Are You?

  1. kathleen kinasewich

    thank you Delores for your choice of words to describe your true self in this moment ….they help all those that struggle with the same …..and cannot find the words….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Morrell

    The nurse on the phone–better her than you in so many ways. She does have broad shoulders, AND she goes home after her shift, AND she’s not watching the love of her life tragically decline. Indeed we do rejoice as you grieve and recover, but there’s no timetable for this stuff–and anyway 8 weeks doesn’t seem like long to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous

    It’s an all-over-the-place process—grieving—and it takes years. And it’s so full of love, this loss. It has its own tragic beauty — and it keeps changing. I’m over the 8 year mark and my loss of Gerry still forms and informs my life. It can be excruciating, but it’s also intriguing. The black hole that keeps on giving. Bless you, Delores — and thanks so much for sharing with us as you go along.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous

    Thank-you Delores; this is an excellent account; and, so very important to express for deeper understanding. Please keep on sharing your thoughts!xo