Things I’ve Learned since you Died

laundry is never done
I talk to myself when I’m alone
the little ways the house has changed distress me

it’s not as much fun coming home
it’s not the same, the house, my own
time makes nothing easy

and that’s about it


“What’s important in this life? Ask the man who’s lost his wife.”
–Chrissie Hynde

Fat chance. Or as the kids say these days, I call bullshit. Pretenders don’t know. Or know something different than what I know, whatever that is. I don’t know. I know what I’ve done since to get on, killing time to stay alive, work, visiting friends and family, music, concerts and dive bars and festivals. Things we didn’t do much together.  Good to have people around me. Some of the time.

Not complete bullshit of course. Depends on where you’re looking. When I look back I know what was important, but for living life today that doesn’t help. The worst has already happened. I know what I’ve lost, but that’s not that much help with now.

“So many things I know but they don’t help me.”
–Regina Spektor

Here’s the thing: soon after she died I started saying, to myself and to others, “the worst has already happened.” This was a helpful mantra: it mean we (her daughter and I) couldn’t fuck things up: where or whether we buried her didn’t matter for example; we should make the best choice we could for us (her ashes are in a box next to the chair she sat in every morning), but we couldn’t screw it up. The same for many, mostly less-important, decisions since. But the corollary is “the best has already happened,” the 27 years from when we met in the parking lot of the old Mayfair Market in La Jolla to five minutes before, without discernible warning, she died eleven months ago in our house in Escondido.

“I went to the store one day.”
–Father John Misty

“Grievers use a very simple calendar: Before & After.”
–Facebook post

My “after” begin eleven months ago to the hour from when I’m writing these sentences, when the best had already happened, and the worst was taking its place. Not to minimize the importance to me of my daughter, grandkids, brothers, nephews, niece, ex-wife, sister-in-law, various long-time friends, etc., but they were only occasionally, not my constant, daily life. “Before” is not the same as “after.” We carry the weight of what we don’t have with us.

all those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain
–Rutger Hauer

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