Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Dear Lucy,
I have been toying with the idea of using parts of this blog to write a book for lesbians (and others of course I am all inclusive) on grieving the loss of your mate.
So, I wrote this as a rough draft start:

The books all tell you that denial is the first step in the grieving process.
It is the brain trying to wrap itself around the fact that the person who has been the single most important human being in your life heretofore is gone and will never come back. Ever. NEVER EVER.
But that is a dictionary definition. Here is the real one:

Denial is expecting her to walk through that front door and flash a big grin at you and say “Hiya sweet cheeks” like she's done for the last 16 years and she doesn’t and you get that pang of worry in your gut thinking something is wrong for her not to be home, until reality says, “she’s dead” and you remember for a while and then an hour later, find yourself staring at the door again waiting for her to come home.

Denial is expecting a phone call from her at any minute while you are at work and the hours and days, and weeks and months go by and you still half expect to get one and every time the phone rings you look at the caller ID fully expecting her name to be there.

Denial is rolling over in bed in the middle of the night expecting your arm to fall gently to rest on her and having it fall completely and utterly to the bed and then waking up and looking over to find her not there and thinking for a brief second that she is up getting something to drink or going to the bathroom. Until reality says, “she’s dead”, and now you can’t get back to sleep or even stay in bed and get up to sit alone on the couch and get angry and depressed and cry until it’s time to get up for work.

Denial is sitting in a burger joint a year after she’s died and having to pick the crunchiest French fries for yourself because she isn’t there fishing them out for you because she knows you like them the best, and she’s been doing that without even thinking about it for 16 years, and you start to cry and have to stop eating and leave.

Denial is strolling down the ice cream aisle of the grocery store and staring at the Haggen Das Vanilla Swiss Almond container for 5 minutes because that was her favorite ice cream and you know you will never eat it again because the memory is just too painful.

Denial is taking your wedding ring off eleven months Stafter she’s died, only to put it back on again because you are not ready to concede defeat.

Denial is that creature that lurks in memories long forgotten, and so deeply imbedded in you that it has become part of your DNA, waiting to creep up and snag you when you least expect it with a memory that is so delightful and feels so good you want to wrap yourself in it and stay there forever and then reality says, “She’s dead and this is the past and you have to move on”.

Denial is fishing out that lock of hair you felt goulish for cutting off her head as she lay dead in the hospital bed and getting cold, and thanking God you had the guts to do it, and holding it and looking at it, and remembering how you had always hated the fact that she was older than you and never got more than a few streaks of gray while you, long ago got to the point of only having a few streaks of brown.

Denial is digging that smelly t-shirt of hers that you took out of the dirty clothes hamper the day she died, out of the bag you keep it in, and wrapping your face in it to remember her scent, and finally feeling comfort again for a few minutes, and having reality set in and say, “she’s dead. You will have to put the t-shirt away for another day and move on”.



  1. All this time I thought denial was a river in... Oh never mind!!

  2. Denial is a note sent to Hope that reads: "You are a liar."

    Kath - I know all about denial and everything you wrote about it is true. But there's something that comes after denial and it's called "tomorrow". And it keeps coming, relentlessly day after day, until you want to vomit - but it just keeps coming - tomorrow after tomorrow, after tomorrow, until that tomorrow comes when you no longer want to vomit. That's the day you aim for. The day when you are not writhing in emotional pain so bad that you can't even communicate with the rest of the world. After that, comes the 'day after tomorrow' - and that's the day a stranger smiles and say's "hello" - and when they do, you are so taken aback you can not even respond. On that day, gentleness and kindness from another actually hurts like a bad sunburn - it hurts to be touched in any way - you want to recoil. Then more tomorrows come, and they keep coming. Then one day, you look up and realize years have passed... then decades... and it doesn't hurt to be touched anymore and you don't want to vomit anymore... but the loss is still there. It will always be there. The real trick to surviving the loss of a loved one is to forge a path through all those tomorrows without your loved one being there, while still honoring the yesterday you had with them. To hold steadfast to that love you shared, while at the same time summoning the courage to face tomorrow without them being physically near. But the essence of those we love is never far away - for they live-on in our minds, our hearts, our memories.