Understanding loss and grief: Am I crazy?

Dolores Robu

Isn’t it enough that I’m alone and, and, and—.

What am I feeling? What day is this? Has he/she only been gone a month or was he/she ever here? I hang up the phone and realize that I can’t remember anything we talked about except for my loss. I must have told that story to everyone I meet, a hundred times, but it is all that I can think about.

Every light in the house is on, but I feel like I’m exhausted. I go to bed but no sleep comes, only the memories. Why didn’t I see it coming? If only I’d made him/her go to the doctor last year, when I first saw that spot! We always tried to live a healthy life and be good people. Why did God do this to me? Surely there are so many bad people He could have given this awful disease to—people who fight—people who don’t even treat their spouse with love—. No, it is not fair. He/she—I didn’t deserve this.

I’m back out of bed; oh my gosh, there he/she is, sitting in his/her favorite chair—. I blink my eyes and no one is there. I’m going nuts—I’m seeing things—people—.

Why is this happening to me? I wish I could die; maybe I can kill myself—no, I’d botch it up and just be a vegetable—where is the wine—. I’ll just have a little—it will help me sleep—. I put on his old flannel shirt, pour a glass of wine and the clock strikes 3:00 a.m.—.

It is 7:00 a.m.; I’m still in his/her chair; lights still on—. I’ve never lived alone before—. I’m almost 70 years old and I’ve never lived alone—-; what do I need to do—? In my nightgown and flannel shirt, I sit at the big desk where I’ve never sat before; it is piled high with mail—. I start opening—one wants this, one wants that—. I make new piles—. I feel like a dim wit—. I’ve never even looked at the bills before—. “God, don’t you know that I can’t do this—?

I just need someone to hold me and tell me it will be alright. The phone rings—someone says, “I’ll be there in 15 minutes to pick you up—.” I’m stunned—. Who is this; where are we going. What was I supposed to do—? I ask the caller, who is a good friend and explains that we had a date for lunch—. I hurry and dress—but when she arrives I’m still in my flannel shirt—she tries to say it is okay, but I just dissolve into tears and the story of my loss comes tumbling out of my mouth—. I can’t stop—I know that she has heard this many times before—. I can see it in her face, but I can’t stop—she, my best friend, suggests that I attend the bereavement group that meets at the clubhouse next Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. We go to lunch—.