Completely empty.

synonym: emptyvacantblankbareclearfreeunfilledunoccupied

According to the interwebby, the average lifespan nowadays is 75 years. If that is true, then she died thirteen years too early, and I have twenty left. I have no words to address the injustice, so I will rely on those of others.

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” — Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

This isolation since she died is so complete, so perfect, that life itself has seemed to dim. My faith in whatever I deem powerful enough to rule this day is challenged by the hour, and I still concern myself with her comfort, as I did for the 24 years we were together, the last four as her caregiver.  Cancer did not pause, and neither did I in those caregiving days. I miss the days I could make her comfortable.

 “It is not known precisely where angels dwell whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God’s pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.” – Voltaire

If I knew where she was, I would travel there. I would tuck her in, fluff her pillow, and make sure she never went without. In other words, I would love her as I promised to, and as I still want to.

Grief is an island in the midst of a civilization that denies its existence. I understand that most people cannot live a life compelled by their own mortality, but once you’ve lost your soul mate, that is your reality and your home. You live at an address that the world cannot find unless those seeking you have been through what you have. We are not survivors, we are immigrants forced out of our home into a foreign place bordered by confusion and loss of purpose. Life itself is drained of meaning, turmoil reigns.

 “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” – Mary Shelley

If I have any say in my own reinvention, I don’t hope for a perfect spouse, but for a life that matters, one that minimizes suffering and emphasizes the goodness life offers in its most desperate hours.  Pure honesty in a time of pure loss is blessing; this is a precious unknown to those who have yet to experience it. This transition cannot be described in words, but it is eventually understood by all.

This is life.

 “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or

weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who

sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless

the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the

joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.” – Anglican Book of Common Prayer

Regardless of what you believe in, this prayer gives words to my hopes, and my hopes are those who are suffering never feel alone.

“In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, forever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought… I must put a roof on this toilet.”  – Les Dawson

In the end, life is absurdity until it is all explained to us.  Life, love, loss, and grief are all emotions experienced by mere mortals until we all share an understanding greater than we do now. Excuse my impatience, but I hang my life’s value on any explanation that allows peace to the dying, just as my wife had, and the two of us to be together again.

Until then, memories serve as the priceless coin of the realm.

Until then, all is void.



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