Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dead Man Walking

A friend of mine lost her very elderly husband seven months ago, to nobody’s surprise but hers. When you are over 90, have cancer and are obviously going downhill, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (as they say, although I don’t know what rocket scientists have to do with anything) to see what’s happening.

She thinks he’s still alive. Six feet under, but still alive and walking back from the cemetery to the house every night to sleep in their car. She thinks a good meal would help, get him back home and into some better clothes. “He looks so emaciated in the casket,” she tells me, after she has visited his grave, “I have to get him back home, fix him up.”

I realize people grieve in their own ways and on their own time lines, but most people I know –all of them- are sadly aware when their spouse’s earthly life has ended. One woman of my early youth kept her husband’s hat just where he left it when he came home each day after work; it was a nice reminder. Another took the occasion to remarry and continue on with what has turned out to be a very long life.

This is the first time I have met someone who so can’t let go that she has him coming out of his grave to sleep in the garage every night while she talks with him.

“Have you tried counseling yet?” goes nowhere, as she insists she is not crazy. She knows people think she’s nuts, she tells me, but if only she could get a good meal into her husband and get him out for a ride, they would see how good he can look.


Anonymous ruthc said...

I am so sorry to read this. And yet, I think I know how she feels.

November 15, 2007 12:52 PM  

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