“What are you working on?” David asked me a couple of days before he died.
“An essay for a contest,” I answered, not looking up from the legal pad I was writing on.
“Is it about me?”
“Always about you,” I answered softly, then looked up to see a contented smile on his face. Our eyes met, and I smiled back, then went back to my writing.
“Does it help to write about your grief?” someone asked me recently, even though they had no idea just how much I’ve actually been writing about David. All they’d been privy to were my blog postings. In fact, I’ve filled half a hardcover journal with the musings of my heart. I’ve completed one essay about our marriage and David’s death, submitted it to an anthology. I’ve also been working on revising that contest essay I’d begun after David’s heart attack, the one he’d asked me about.
It has also helped me to read of the grief of others. Just as I search the faces of those who have been down this road before me, I search writings by those who have lost a spouse, looking for answers to the questions uppermost in my mind, most notably; How? How do I do this? I will not forget how I initially wished for a handbook on grief, how I still wish someone could tell me exactly how to proceed.
I’ve also been jotting down pertinent information about David and the conversations we’d had.
“David would have wanted that.” For the most part I speak the truth when I say that. I do have a good idea of what David liked, how he thought, and what he would have wanted. We lived together for almost 33 years, after all, and we’d had many conversations regarding our hopes, dreams, and wishes for the future.
At what point, however, will my natural writer’s bent towards embellishment kick in, and my own desires become his in my memory? I panicked one day, wondering if I would forget what David really had said and begin substituting my own words for his? I couldn’t bear the thought of losing the reality of David in my own twisted memories.
That is why I’ve also been writing in this journal, Angel Catcher, recording our most recent conversations, along with thoughts and feelings regarding our relationship. I don’t want to forget anything about David.
How do I get through this? I wonder, even as I scribble furiously on legal pads, notebooks, and in journals deep into the night. I haven’t watched television more than once or twice in the four weeks since David’s death. Instead, there is a small pile of journals, stationery, notepads, books and letters at the end of the couch where I find myself sitting, night after endless night. The children laugh about Mom’s “hoarding pile,” but that pile encompasses what has become my solace through these long days: My writing. I write. And then I write some more.
Always about him.
“Dear Lord, I have felt your healing spirit within me even on those darkest of days. Let me always honor my husband’s memory through my writing and glorify you through my words. This morning I have had two e-mails and one phone call from others who are reaching out to me in their own time of need, and though I am still in the midst of grieving my life’s partner, I am able to see how already you are using me and my pain to allow me to help others. Thank you for bringing me comfort in the way of the friends and family you have blessed me with.”