I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone experiencing the death of a spouse, a child, a parent, a significant other, especially before their time, but for me, as I’ve mentioned before, there came a time to decide whether to live or die. I don’t necessarily mean a choice between life and suicide, supposing a living death in which loneliness and emptiness consumes a person far worse.
By saying “a time to decide,” I don’t mean a point in time or even a conscious decision. But at some point somewhere deep inside, you resolve to try. Then, it’s like trying to start a stubborn lawnmower or chainsaw engine. You prime the pump, set the choke, pull the rope. Nothing happens, and after a few tries, you give up. Then, you either try again or you don’t. Even when you decide to try and the engine catches, it’s likely to sputter and die. But at least, you know there’s life there and that bolsters your resolve to try again.
While there’s no point in time for my decision to live, there is a time and place I was absolutely sure of that decision – Saturday, August 16, 2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., here at home sitting out back on the patio. It was a deliciously cool, crisp morning, more like an autumn morning than one in mid-August. Still low in the sky, the sun scattered a fragmented patchwork of light on the ground as its rays slanted through the trees. Other than birds and a light breeze, the only sound was the barely audible bark of a dog somewhere in the distance. It was the kind of morning from which you just might catch a glimpse of Nirvana.
I don’t know why looking up at the morning’s pale blue sky through the branches of an overhanging oak reminded me of Mona, but it did. And I cried. Even as I did, though, I realized how much more deeply I appreciated that morning because it did remind me of her and for a few moments my tears rolled down across a smile.
I know so many things will be bittersweet from now on. I know that at times grief will still come from nowhere and decimate me. But how could I ever again not be more deeply appreciative of anything remotely connected to her? – David Cornwell