YES MEN DO CRY
One Man’s Personal Journey of Grieving the Loss of His Wife
Yes, men do grieve, mostly silently.
November 5, 2000, on my way to New Zealand to see my mom, brother, and sister.
Well, so far, Booby, this is the shits, but I know things will get easier. I can’t stop thinking of your birthday, September 4, 2000.
What a great evening it was. This was the day when I look back and realize that she was accepting what was happening to her. How do I know this? Well, Lois was a person whose appearance was very important to her, especially in front of others—everything had to be just right. She didn’t want to be a party pooper, so I convinced her that I could pull it off by having her birthday celebration at home and that our friends just wanted to be with us. So what if the spread I put on was not up to Lois’s standards? They would not mind. When she said okay, I knew she must be feeling worse than she was letting on to me. I prepared the best arrangement ever of snacks imaginable. Lois was so embarrassed. Hell, how could I have gone wrong with crackers, meat, cheese, olives, and pickles? They looked great to me. Everything I suspected about her pain and just feeling terrible was confirmed 100 percent when she made her entrance in her PJs. Yes, if you knew Lois, this is one thing she would never have done around friends—but she did have her makeup on with that ever-present lipstick, looking as good as ever.
It was a great evening. Lois lasted about one and a half hours before she told our friends she was tired. They all left except Terry and Fran, who just wanted to be with their best friend. Fran didn’t want to accept that Lois was dying. On the surface, Lois looked so good, but she was hiding how she really felt, especially in front of Fran. I finally had to tell her that Lois was lying when she said she wasn’t in pain. Terry and Fran finally left, and we went to bed.
What happened next was purely Lois at her best. It was what she was—“one hell of a lady”. We went to bed, and then, out of the blue, she said, “I want you to make love to me, maybe for the last time.” That was the last thing on my mind. Just cuddling her hurt, but she said she would be okay, but she might cry. We made love, but afterward, I could only cuddle her for a second because her body was hurting. We lay side by side. She cried. That was the last time we made love.
June 10, 2001
I feel the volcano is close to erupting. Will it? I don’t know. The emotions are simmering just below the surface. I walk to the store and feel like losing it, but so far, nothing happened. The whole body is tense.
Wound up like a spring. Why am I feeling like this? Well, surprise, surprise! I know the answer. It’s the thought of moving. Reality has set in big-time. Here I am, having started to pack, making decisions what to take, what to leave behind—it’s hurting so much, but I have to do it. What do I leave behind? This, no one can tell me as I don’t know myself. It’s strange as I have to make decisions on the spur of the moment. Time will tell if they were the right ones. Some things I will leave on the riverbank. I will realize one day I should have brought them along, but at the time, I could only carry so much. Booby, what does this mean? It means that our life together was not about material things. Material things can be replaced. Our life was about the memories. These are something I can take anywhere.
January 11, 2002
Oh, Booby, Booby, Booby. This explains it all. I want you back so much yet fully understand this is a fantasy. It must be my way of handling (or trying to) my pain, thinking of the good times, wanting the good times, knowing that now they have to come from what I make. Round and round we go; it’s an intriguing web we weave ourselves. The web breaks, so we have to spin a new one. This I will continue to do until I make a web so strong that I will feel safe, feel confident with myself.
March 2, 2002
Still feeling as though I’m just floating like a feather in the wind. Like the feather I don’t know where I will land. It’s as though I have no control, but I know for sure that this is not so. I’m in complete control; it is me allowing myself to be in this state. I want “companionship” so much, but I’m scared. I want to touch, explore, and feel someone. Selfishly for my own needs, but it’s something I need to happen because I have to justify to myself that I can love again.
October 17, 2002
So much has happened since I last wrote. I have been completely focused on myself and my unfolding and developing relationship with Liette. Yes, it has been about my rebirth (I like that), me finding me. Remember way back, I said I had to find me as an individual? Well, a lot has happened, from you dying to me grieving, grieving my way, me reemerging, feeling confident with my decisions, and most of all, feeling good about life.
It has been real interesting how things have unfolded with Liette. She officially moved in on October 17. Yes, one days before the second anniversary of your death. It was not planned, it just happened. Who would have thought (except you, of course, as you said I would find someone) that this would happen to me?
Looking back, it seemed impossible to me. I loved you so much. I couldn’t imagine life without you. You’re still so close to me, yet so far away. Liette appeared unexpectedly, and yes, I can love again. Liette has touched places (okay, this conjures up some interesting interpretations) within that I didn’t think could be rekindled. I love her for her, for me, and just because I do. Why? Who the hell knows? It
feels right, so that is all that matters. What will happen? Who knows? We are living in the now. That is what life is. Tomorrow never comes. We both feel good with each other, comfortable, and most of all, enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to seeing her each night after work. It’s neat to wake up and feel her next to me. I’m not trying to justify anything; I just can’t find the words to explain how I feel other than I feel great. Some things defy explanation, and this is one. Feeling great. What could be better?
August 18, 2003
Nine months since the last entry. I think that is quite significant—nine months. That’s approximately how long it takes to have a baby. Nine months that’s completely about me and concentrating on my new life with Liette. Interesting! Now to others, this might mean nothing; but to me, it means the road that was so winding with ups and downs at the beginning is now looking a bit like a freeway—open road ahead. It’s a lot easier to be on now. I can drive with two fingers on the wheel as I feel there are no sharp turns. I can see ahead, not into the future, but ahead. I’m happy with the now, I’m happy with me, I’m happy with Liette.