November 2012

Something I’ve learned about grief: It’s not linear. It doesn’t dissolve in a smooth curve upward. Instead, it comes in fits and starts. Grief eases, gives you a break, a breather, and you think things are getting better, things are looking up, the sun has started to peek through the clouds, the frost is thawing, and thenĀ wham! It’s back.

Like the transition between winter and spring.

Like how the daffodils poke up and bloom and you feel things are starting to turn around, and the trees bud, and you think about planting herbs. And then it’s 40 degrees again and things die all over. That’s how grief is.

I got the news by text message.

I was teaching, while Tom died. I was in Morton 205, upstairs. I don’t remember what we were doing. The schedule from that semester says my students read “Hills Like White Elephants” and “Araby” that day. Were we discussing those stories? What was said? What questions did I ask? What, really, does it matter?

All I know is that I got back to my office and pulled my phone out of my desk drawer and saw Jesse’s text: “Dad just died…”

I won’t try to describe the feeling.

That’s all I can write today. I was teaching. I got the news by text message. I’m talking about Hemingway, and my husband’s world is falling apart.

That was fall, and we’ve been through winter, and now we’re in spring, but it’s still fits and starts. One step forward, two back.

Thanks for bearing with us.


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