"Give a Piece a Chance." — Books. Blog. Pie Classes. And a Pinch of Activism.

You Seem Better…

PHOTO: Returning to familiar territory. Our old house (right), my new house (left)
“You seem better,” my dad said to me when I saw him this past weekend.
Really? Am I better?

Is better when you take the dogs on their nightly walk in your very quiet neighborhood, inadvertently get scraped by a thorny blackberry branch and let out a blood-curdling scream yelling “FUCK!!!” at the top of your lungs, collapse right there in the middle of the sidewalk at 11PM and sob so hard you scare your dogs, let alone the neighbors?

Is better when you call Marcus’ cell phone number and feel your heart race because you actually think there’s a possibility he’ll answer?

Is better when a friend brings over a box of fancy cupcakes and after she leaves you eat the whole box in ten minutes trying to fill the un-fill-able deep, cavernous, terrifying void left by Marcus?

Is better when you lie on the couch for two, three, even four hours just staring into space?

Is better when you eat a bowl of rice pudding – Marcus’ favorite – and raise your spoon toward the ceiling, offering him a bite, even making sure the spoonful has a sprinkle of cinnamon on it?

Is better when you climb to the top of a 3,000-foot mountain during a rain/snowstorm and in a fit of exhaustion and rage scream “MARRRRRCUSSSSSSS!!! I MISS YOUUUUU!!!” to the sky and just lie there on your back wailing in a wet puddle of snow?

Is better when you move into the apartment right next door to the house in which you used to live together so you can be closer to him, so he knows where to find you, and then turning the place into a shrine to Marcus by filling it with pictures on every wall and every shelf so each direction you look you see him?

Is better when you spend hours looking at photos of Marcus on your computer? Is better when you spend extra time looking at the pictures of him lying in his casket?

Is better when you go to the library and check out every single book available on the afterlife? Is better when you consult with three different psychics to try to communicate with your husband, to understand why he died, to find out if he is okay, to let him know you are so very very sorry for not being more loving, more patient, more respectful toward him?

I want to be better. I want to have a productive life again. I want to be able to accomplish more in a day than just staring into space. My grief counselor advised, “Grief is hard work. Even staring into space is doing the work.”

My friend Ann also said something helpful: “Give yourself a break, you lost your husband just a second ago in the scope of things.” A “second” in this case is three months. Three very long, painful, confusing, exhausting months. Three months of which I have very little memory as the shock has made time seem like a big blur.

Sorry, Dad. Someday I hope I am better. I’m not better. Not yet. But I’m working on it.