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.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Man Sleeping In the Time After

Man Sleeping In the Time After
the Death of His Wife

Tonight I can sleep for as long as I want. Why am I awake at 4 a.m., worried that when I get up, it won’t matter? I slept for a few hours. That will be enough to get me through the day. I stare at the ceiling, reliving the joys of my past with my wife, bemoaning the blah of my present, and cursing the destruction of long-held dreams. Reality’s boundaries disappear under the snow that won’t stop falling.

When reality becomes nightmare, am I trying to wake up or fall asleep?


Lights travel with shadows across my window shade, then all is dark again. I came to bed at 11 p.m. and read about people hiking in the mystery and wonder of the wilderness until I thought I could sleep. I need to return to nature and listen to its wisdom about grief.

Finally after months, I can think about my wife without crying. Remembering brings less sorrow now, but still little joy. I don’t know if that will ever change. Each day I hear the jingle jangle of holiday songs and wish that I could feel their hope, their joy.

Her eyes keep me awake. Also her fierce compassion for the suffering of others, and her excitement for this holiday season because it countered whatever in life was going wrong. But this year I drift on the waves between sleeping and waking, float on the boundary between life and death, the netherworld and the After, the Here and the Never that meanders between what is and what used to be.

The fabric of time has wrinkled. I live in a parallel universe that moves slower than this world that speaks a dull language. The world I once viewed through my wife’s eyes is becoming faint. I have to choose between a reality I don’t want and a dream that will never be.


I will dream of the unknown, and wake to the new. I am stubborn. I will survive.

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