Laundry and Loss

Grief begins before death when there is dementia...

My husband, Ray, at the Siuslaw River near Florence-by-the-Sea, Oregon, U.S.A.

Late last night I was posting some hand-written index cards and flyers and I met a lady in our local laundromat. I was just going to pin my papers and leave, but this lady was kind, she was friendly. No one has to be nice, and it's so refreshing when a person is pleasant simply for the sake of doing it.

I stopped, turned around, and went back to talk for a moment. It ended up being much longer, and she was quite tired. (It was nearing midnight.) I saw she had bags of groceries, in addition to six large dryers of mostly sheets and blankets.

I folded her clean things and bagged them. There were some things that required more dry time, so we chatted about our lives in general, and loss. She believes entirely in a woman wearing black and mourning for a period of a year, at least, more if need be. The thought of it, well, the thought of what my sorrow is really like... I told her the mourning is inescapable, and lasts for the duration of the human heart, only to be lifted by the grace of God. To me, I told her, it has a place within me, period. When my soul is freed from the cage of this mortal temple, the depth of all my sorrows are to be filled by the light of God's enduring love.

She wanted to know why it cannot happen now.

"Because I don't want it to end," I said.

I didn't think about it before I said it. The words came out of my mouth, and there it was... I have never worked so hard, and so stupidly, to get away from anything as much as I have TRIED to get away from the end of us, Ray and I. To me, he is still alive, simply not with me. I don't want to feel it, but I won't let it go.

I have had some good experiences since Ray passed away, and I've also had some really shitty ones.

Uh, enough of that.

I got home about 2 AM. I remained at the laundry with my new friend, Mrs. MacDonald, while she waited for the only taxi in our town on a Saturday night. Our town makes bank on tickets and DUIs, so the taxi does well, because even if you're only a few shots through the bottle, people USUALLY make the sound choice of the taxi.

I finally called Connie, the lady that owns the taxi. She leases it out to individuals when she isn't driving it. She is cool, and helped me locate Ray at least three times when he took off walking, I had no vehicle (or he took the keys), and he couldn't tell me where he was at. Those were scary times, and Connie didn't charge me a penny to drive around until we found my husband, each time with him looking so tired, so very tired and confused. Oh, God. Oh, God, we had dementia, and it's cruel, so cruel.

Uh, enough. Enough of that, too.

See, the sorrow was already here before he left, because he was already leaving, we were leaving. WE were.

Connie came to the laundry when I called. She came in here own car. I would have used my truck, but it is full of the boxes I have packed to store.

I am leaving the last place I lived in with my husband.

I got home about 2 AM, as I said, and sat in the truck that belongs to me, in my driveway, on this quiet street. I prayed, and wept, and mourned.

Because I don't want it to end.

Because I didn't want US to end.

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