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An Author’s Reality

Posted by Flood on May 10, 2006

My husband died two weeks ago. He was coming back from visiting an old friend who was in town for just one night. It's funny because while he was out, I was very content by the silence in the house. All the kids sleeping, no one asking me how my writing was coming while I was struggling to find the right word for a sentence that was already awkward. No TV, no music, no "listen to this political news article that is so very interesting." It was pure peace.

The peace left in increments. At about 11 pm he had been gone for almost four hours. I thought briefly that he was gone a long time for someone who complained about the meeting before he left.

"I don't really want to go. Dave said someone else was coming, too. I don't think it's anyone I know, so I don't see how much fun that could be."

By 12:30 I was mildly concerned, mostly because he had to be up early. I had also promised the kids he would kiss them when he came home. It would be too late in the night for that.

At one in the morning, I made more tea.

At 1:30 I called his cell phone and heard it ring from the microwave on the counter. I wondered who else I could call so late, but came up empty.

At 1:45 I was sure he was seeing another woman, and I was determined to stay awake so I could smell him when he got home.

At 2:00 I was enraged. I paced through the kitchen, to the front door and back again what felt like a hundred times. I went outside to listen for cars coming down the street. I wanted to slam a door or break something to release some anger and panic, but again, waking up the kids would not help the situation.

At 3:23 I went to my room and prayed. I asked God to please bring him home safely and I would live a righteous life forever. I told God that it would not be a funny joke for me to be a young widow at 33 with four children. I told Him that I could not afford the house alone, life insurance notwithstanding. I told God I could never love anyone else as much, ever again.

At 4:17 I woke to a knock at the door. I wanted to ignore it but the dog's barking made it impossible. Groggy, confused, remnants of anger hovering my body, I went downstairs to answer.

At 4:22 The police told me that my husband had died in a fatal collision on the freeway at 2:11 am

At 4:27 I awoke again to the officers faces over me. They told the paramedics were coming and wanted to know who they should call to come help me in this difficult time. Neighbours? Family? My brain was blank. I heard the words individually but I couldn't connect them to make sense of their message.

By 5:00 am, I collected some reason, but I felt lost. I had a fear in my heart that is worse than when I was a child, laying in bed at night thinking "Someday I will not be here. I will be dead and the world will go on." The feeling was thick and coursed through my blood. My mother somehow came to be sitting at the kitchen table, begging me to go lie down, that she would take care of the kids, but I knew that was my responsibility. Everything would be my responsibility now.

[work on ending tomorrow]

Interview during book launch:

Q: We were sorry to hear about your grief last year. Our condolences on the loss of your husband.
A: Thank you.
Q: Can you talk about it, yet? Can you tell us about that night?
A: The police came to the door as I was writing a story about a woman's husband being killed in a car accident…

[No actual husbands were hurt in the creation of this story -Flood]


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