In a tragi-comic twist, my Granny died five days before M.
She was old, tired, she’d had enough. She was also much beloved.
M and I cried together when we heard the news. Little did we know that by the end of that same week, He’d be gone too.
The day after Granny died, Dad told me: “It’s sad, but life is for the living.”
I took it as one of those perfunctory statements that people make in such situations. Didn’t give it much thought, got on with the task of living. For the next four days, at least, until my world would shockingly and without warning become utterly un-liveable.
Dad’s statement has been on my mind lately though. I understand what he was saying, but does living really exclude the dead?
In a purely physical way, yes it does. But M is still so much part of the fabric of my life and that of my daughter, I can’t condemn Him to that other land. His presence is felt in everything, from the food we eat, to the TV we watch, to the choices we make about the future.
I still grapple with a need to conceptualise the two worlds (living and dead) and their relationship with each other, which is why I cannot yet inter His ashes. I need a physical remnant of Him to remain here – a box of dust to act as a bridge between the two lands.
In the early days after M died, I wanted to die myself. Not to ‘be with Him’, because I don’t believe that’s how it all ends up. (If it does, however, knowing my luck I’d be stuck with Whitney Houston, who died on the same day. Christ, imagine that warbling in your ear for the ever-after.)
I wanted to die because the pain of losing Him was so intense, I just wanted it to stop. Many widows I know felt the same.
I never actually attempted to end my life though – mainly for fear that I’d end up in a series of botched attempts like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. But also because I have a responsibility to myself and those still living who love me. Plus it isn’t the answer to all this. I’m not sure what is.
But given that we’re all heading that way in the end, and seemingly there is no logic or forewarning from the Reaper, my revenge is to live.
And to live well. Cheers!