Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm dealing with two kinds of healing. I've found out recently that staying on top of medications--when you took them, what you took in terms of dosage--is critical. Thanks to my daughter-in-law, I now have a little box set up for a week of medications so that should help. I'm pretty much staying on top of exercising and find doing them helps not only by keeping me limber and exercising the knee but it also helps me mentally.

I had been thinking I had been doing well with dealing with my brother's death. In fact, I thought I had really started healing. And then... And then...

Last week my sister casually mentioned she had talked to our sister-in-law and that she had been out at the lake place. Three of the sons had been there and the daughter too with assorted spouses and children--a full house. One son had not been able to come but was going to come later. I said, "Oh, that's wonderful for Ruthie, but I'm not surprised. Those kids are so supportive."

Then my sister said, "Oh, and they scattered David's ashes over the point on the lake he loved so much."

Well, that did it. I was immediately a blubbering fool and had to tell her I'd call her back. I'm a writer, so at the same time that I'm crying, as I am now just thinking of those words, why do those words have such an impact? I was back where I was at the beginning, maybe not quite so bad, but bad. I know there are different stages in grief and one of them is acceptance. Can it be that I hadn't quite accepted David's death and hearing they scattered his ashes left no room for doubt anymore?

How could I think, even after hearing about the manner of his death, that he would call one day, and say "Marcia, it was a huge mistake. I'm fine. I'm not dead."

I think, somehow, in my subconscious, I must have been thinking that. There is a book, by Joan Didion, called "The Year of Magical Thinking." It speaks very eloquently of just this kind of thinking. He died right in front of her and yet she thought that if the obituary didn't appear in the paper somehow he wouldn't be dead and that this kind of thinking went on for a year. I have that book somewhere. I have to read it.

I find myself not able to write right now. Maybe it's the grief that's spilling out inside of me that won't let creative juices flow. Instead doubts have begun creeping in: I've lost the touch; I'm no longer a writer. The negative has crept in and is spilling it's nastiness everywhere.

When some other piece about David's death would fall into place--usually from a phone call with my sister-in-law--I would find it took about a week for it to settle in. I hope this too will find it's way in and give me peace.

It's been a week, and yet this morning a bit of reading brought something about David back to me, and with it--tears began to flow again. It was a totally charming little piece written by a man about a story his Grandfather had told him. They had been walking through a zoo and had come across a miniature house and the little boy was totally confused to hear it called a "Whale House" by his grandfather. When asked how something so big could go in something so little his grandfather added to the confusion by talking about aquifers and other strange things. It was only later he realized his grandfather had called it a "Well House" and that accounted for the confusion.

It was only when I realized that it was the zoo in La Crosse, Wisconsin the boy and his grandfather had gone to and that the zoo was right next to my parent's grave site and that it was David who had finally taken me there after I had studiously avoided it forever. I had found it oddly comforting to see their gravestones together at this lovely spot where deer fed and glimpses of zoo animals could be seen through a fence. My parents could not have found a quieter, more tranquil spot to have their eternal rest which was wonderful, because their life together had been anything but quiet or peaceful. I had no doubt my parents had died but still I never felt up to looking at those gravestones until David took me there.

Now I will never been able to go to a gravestone to mourn David. The wind has his ashes.


Kerri said...

I believe that some small part of him made its way to you. (((hugs)))

Heidi the Hick said...

I wish the sadness could be taken away and only leave the comforting memories.

Don't worry about the words, though... it will all come back to you when you are ready.

I think this kind of heartbroken healing takes much longer than we expect, and it has so many stages. You are allowed to feel what you're feeling - remember that.

Thank you for this thoughtful post. You say you can't write, but look what you just did.

Heidi said...

beautiful post. I was just thinking about you yesterday as I realized I was finally having stretches of good days, hoping you were having them too.

As Hth says, healing happens in stages. And acknowledging death doesn't me we don't miss them terribly sometimes.

You could always have a headstone made for David. I know people who are cremated that still do that to give mourners a place to visit. Or you could visit the lake and remember him there. He'd probably like that.

marsh to the fore said...

What lovely, thoughtful comments. Kerri, thanks for the hugs. I needed them today. This post really helped. I was floundering around not knowing what was wrong but of course it was dealing with that death again.

HtH, after I wrote the blog piece (thank you for your comment on it. I didn't think about what I was writing, it just was there) I went back to what I had written the day before for RUN which I thought was terrible and found it OK. Maybe not brilliant, but it would do for a first draft. I also had some really fun, creative thoughts for the story which showed the creative juices haven't dried up.

HW I am thinking about doing a memorial for David. I've thought of it before, just haven't done anything about it but feel this is the time. Something I'd have here or could take with me, maybe something I could frame: that ridiculous bucket hat he used to wear for his fishing group; a little canoe I'm sure was meant for he and Ruthie and their lake place which I somehow didn't send them which reminds me of a ride we took together on the lake at his lake place, and of course pictures of how I remember him. Centered would be his last email of any consequence to me which I just call "Chickens" because that's what he called it. I'm not sure but that's what I'm thinking for now.

Kerri, I have felt like some part of him was with me sometimes but those feelings have been few and far between. Maybe at some point they'll come back.

Thanks for these beautiful thoughts.