Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

If you would like to be notified whenever I post something new, please enter your email here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When You Return

This post may strike you as strange, but I wonder about it now and then, andI suspect that you do, too. The what ifs.

Two years after Evelyn died, I finally accepted the reality that she wasn’t coming back. Those of you who have lost people are nodding your heads. You understand. Everyone else is probably thinking, “It’s about time.”

I stopped expecting to see Ev come home after teaching, or working at her desk, cooking in the kitchen, or smiling in bed when I woke up. I stopped hoping that it was all a nightmare, that the doctor had made a mistake and she wasn’t dead. She had just been misplaced.

(photo first published in Modern Loss, http://modernloss.com/day-lovers-without-mine/)

Reluctantly, I began to create a new life. Now years later, I wonder what would have happened if she came back.


If Ev had returned during the first three years, not much would have changed. I lived in the same house, did the same job, and had the same schedule of activities. She could have stepped right back in and we would have continued from there.

And yet, she may not have been thrilled to come back if she had to add a heart problem to her other physical ailments. She was already depressed and struggling to deal with the aches and pains that wouldn’t clear up. But if the heart was causing the other pains, and the surgery had solved that, she might have been okay with the situation.


Then everything began to change. Her mother died, four of our closest friends relocated to L.A. Then I moved from California to Illinois, and I do different work. I also fell in love and remarried. It would be tricky to have two wives, although I hear that this works for some men. Over these years, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and about life because of grief.

The second scenario. What if Evelyn came back into my present? She would love to experience my emotional changes because she had worked hard with me to communicate better. And what if she brought with her all the insights that she had gained from where she had been? We could have some dandy conversations.


A third scenario. What if Evelyn had survived and I had the chance to go back in time from my present? With everything that I’ve done since then, with all the ways that I have grown in wisdom and compassion, and being married to someone else, would I want to go back if I had to lose all this?

If we can dream the future into reality, can we dream our reality into the past?

Related Post

Listening in Grief's Woods http://widowersgrief.blogspot.com/2010/07/listening-in-quiet-woods.html

No comments:

Post a Comment