When my friend’s husband died it touched on many areas of grief.
I truly liked that man. He was an integral part of our dinner group, and through his wife I knew him personally. I knew that he was kind, considerate and caring. He was a SMART reader. He was a dedicated father and grandfather. And because he was aware of his heart problems, he lived each day with gratitude. I will miss having him in our world.
His death also plumbed a well of sadness, which had grown deeper when my sister died last June. Grief does compound, after all. It isn’t finite and it can’t be contained, compartmentalized and labeled. My feelings of loss for each of my sisters are intertwined with my niece’s, my parents and my friends deaths. The death of one triggers thoughts of another.
Now, however, I am stunned with the immediacy of death and the certain knowledge that it is coming to my cherished circle. I am sad because our latest loss won’t be the last. I am melancholy with the inevitability of it all. In one final heartbeat I passed a milestone: I am closer to comprehending mortality and that it applies to me.
Although we are never prepared for death, I am, with my peers, past the age when it is unexpected. I can read statistics and know that one of us is next. I hate that!
I don’t want to live without my husband, my sisters, or my kindred spirits. My heart aches at the thought of it. When I lunched with old friends yesterday I looked at their dear faces and felt possessive with the desire to hold the moment in time. My husband and I clasp hands as we watch television together. We hug each other more and hold each other longer. Our eyes search for each other across the room. I am obsessed with excuses to call my sisters and talk with them. I should be seeing them. I’ll be so sorry if I don’t take the time.
As much as I am clutching others to me, I don’t want to die first either. I’m not afraid of dying, but I am so DAMN important to myself! I recognize the family trait: holding on to life with fingernails and toenails.
So I want to stop the clock. I am weary of my heart feeling as if it has been sanded with coarse paper. I want the smoothness of complacency. I want moments of petty irritation to tighten my forehead and squeeze sadness from my mind. I want to be zoned out and detached and do a crossword puzzle without wondering if I am wasting precious time.
More time is what I want. I wanted it for him, and I want it for all of us.