If the sixth and final stage of grief is acceptance, then being able to remember a departed loved one in their happiest moments might be a sign you’ve arrived at that final plateau of sorrow. At the very least, you are remembering that loved one when he or she was happiest, and good memories like these bring their own comfort.
Carol has gotten used to me asking about Mike, so she might be a bit further along in the process of memory’s healing grace.
Back in the early 1970s, at the height of my self-delusion of single handedly saving the world, I applied to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. I remember writing the required biographical essay in language so flowery that I had to water it before sealing it in the envelope. So filled with myself at the time I might have included a photo of me in leotards and a cape. I never heard back from Antioch, not even a form rejection letter. I think it was the cape, though it might have been the leotards
Do you have any idea how many silver Prius’s there are on the road? At one point over the past months, I started to count how many I saw. There were more than two hundred over a few weeks.
Mike drove a silver Prius. He loved his car. He bragged about the mileage he would get.
I hadn’t seen this one coming. Figuring I had only three days to spend in Genoa with one of them devoted to Wash Day, I decided to do some standard, camera hanging around the next, garish green shorts the color grass never was, spindly kegs white as golf tees, on a package tour kind of sightseeing. The Corso Italia, a long promenade along the Mediterranean leading to the beautiful and quaint Boccadasse, described in the brochures as “an old marine’s neighborhoodm” seemed a good fit for me: a lot of walking and little to see but the sea.
In 1991, the car author Jerry Sittser was driving on a dark stretch of road with his wife, mother and four children was hit headon by a drunk driver. Sittser’s wife of twenty years, his mother and four-year-old daughter were killed. That night for Sittser became “The End and The Beginning,” as Sittser entitled the first chapter of A Grace Disguised, in which he recounted the accident.
It occurs to me that as a sorrowing widower, I’m a lightweight. Readers who have commented on the blog talk of marriages that were twenty, thirty and forty years old before they ended in the death of the spouse. Carolyn and I were together for five years and married for less than four. Relative to time, where do I get off comparing my situation to any of theirs? Seriously, where do I get off?
I’m about halfway between my first two solo European train adventures. A short four months ago, I was still struggling whether I could even conceive of traveling without my beloved traveling companion. With my second Eurail pass already in hand for a six week’s trip starting in March, I can foresee a point in late April when I’ll have completed The Year of Living Alone. (I capitalize only to highlight to myself that this will be the first year since I was twenty-five that I have actually lived by myself.)