I am haunted by a dream, a dream that is far too likely to be true, and wakes me up in the middle of the night. In this dream, my wife wakes up in the morning to find my body cold and still in the bed next to her. I feel no pain for myself — I’m dead — but I burn with the agony of loss that she feels, and the pain that wracks her when she calls our kids, and the reverberations of sadness that I will be responsible for causing. If you live life in the embrace of friends and family, you know what I’m talking about. Love and happiness exact a cost, every moment filling a pool of tears that grows deeper with our closeness, and as we grow older they well close to the surface, until…they inevitably break and fall in sorrow and grief.
I’ve been married for thirty-six years. Thirty six years of inseparable mutual devotion in which a lachrymal ocean has grown, that we work together to shore up and contain, because there will be a flood of grief when that dark shore is crossed. I can imagine some grim shadow of it. I can dread it.
And I can sympathize when the partner of long-time commenter Nerd of Redhead dies after 43 years of marriage. That is a rending I don’t want to contemplate…and yet it’s what haunts me, too.