Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I don't remember a lot about the days that followed Colin's death. My parents picked me up from the police station later that night and took me to their house. I slept in bed with my mom for the first time since I was very young.

My dad was drunk, had been drinking since before Colin died. I think he was on one of the long binges that he used to go on. He cried a lot those first few days; the sort of drunken crying that seems to come from nowhere and everywhere. He also did a lot of mysterious disappearing, hanging out with old doper friends that he'd been avoiding. He didn't sleep much, and spent a lot of time telling me how sorry he was for me, and how much he wished Colin wasn't dead.

My mom took a week off work and helped me take care of everything. She got my friends organized, and they packed my apartment and got all my stuff moved into a storage unit. Mom's friends from work organized some cook-outs, and they brought over food. They descended on my mom's house like an army of angry, loving Betty Crockers, armed with lasagnas and casseroles, and other things that are yummy when they come out of the oven. They swept me up in their big love and took care of the millions of little things a girl can't take care of when her husband dies. A lot of those ladies gushed on about how sad and tragic Colin's death was. They meant well, and I was grateful for their help and their support, but I had no patience for hearing about how tragic this and how sad that. It was useless to me, to think or talk about how sad and stupid it all was. I loved those ladies, but I wanted to claw the tongue out of every one of them when they looked at me with all their sympathy and told me how young I was to be widowed.

I remember one woman in particular, Nancy. She was my mom's boss and she had always been a little intense and intimidating. She didn't say anything to me when she came in, just set her casserole dish down and gave me the fiercest, most serious hug. My mom's best friend was there too, and she and Nancy were the only two outside our family who acted normally. They didn't cry for me or express their sadness. They just let me talk and helped me work through whatever was going on with me. They stayed with me, taking turns with my mom to make sure I was okay, and not alone during those first days. They took time off work and away from their families to take care of mine, and I think I'll always love them for that.

I didn't sleep for several nights, staying up late into each night going through boxes and trying to make sense of everything. Mom took me to a clinic and got me sedatives so I could sleep, but they never worked. I threw them out after a week, mostly because I was tempted to take the whole bottle at once.

I moved in with my best friend a couple weeks later; she'd just been divorced and needed a house-mate and I wasn't really prepared to live alone. I got a different job, the job that led me to what I'm doing now, and poured all my energy into it.

I managed not to die of sadness, though it was touch-and-go for awhile.

Today's weather matches my mood: a little grey, a little bleak, and a lot rainy. I've been hoping for rain, or respite from all the heat and sunshine and I finally got what I wanted. All that sunshine was making me feel like I had to be so damn happy, and now that it's gone the pressure to be happy is gone also.


Anonymous said...

In risk of sounding too much like a shrink, I think not running from how you're feeling right now (or ever) is one of the best things you can do. Remember, though, that how you're feeling is just that - how you're feeling. It is about you, it does not define who you are.

Jade said...

I quite agree. That's why everyone gets to read about how painful this all was. :)

I haven't been defined by this experience for a long time, but it has a most significant bearing on almost every decision I make today.

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