Haunted House

One of the adjustments a widower has to make is getting used to living in a haunted house. It doesn’t take much to conjure up a familiar spirit: an un-dented pillow beside you in the morning; a closet full of empty hangers; the monthly arrival of House Beautiful magazine; a bathroom sink that’s no longer used; a handwritten note in the junk drawer; a smiling picture with eyes that follow you around the room.

In an unguarded moment the domestic can shimmer into the surreal. The sudden apparition produces tears, not terror. Closing your eyes only makes matters worse.

There are various coping strategies: buy a single bed, take down the pictures, sell the house. But I suspect these wouldn’t banish the phantom. Someone who has been flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone for two-thirds of my life won’t be so easily dissuaded. Nor would I want her to be.

Being haunted is the curse for not dying first.


2 thoughts on “Haunted House

  1. Mike, we just “stumbled” on your blog and learned of Susan’s death. Now we are the ones writing with blurred eyes. Our hearts go out to you and your family.

    Steve and Miriam Schoenig

  2. Mike, I know you are just writing from the heart but I wanted you to know how gifted you are, and how I am so blessed when I read your posts. I DO love your style of just being brutally honest with life. It is not only refreshing but your posts really do give me perspective and balance with my own struggles. Though I have not experienced the death of a spouse (my husband survived a heart attack at the age of 42), my mother passed away from a heart attack at the age of 65; very suddenly and unexpectedly. I can so relate to what you say here! And I am reminded of this quote of John Irving’s in “A Prayer for Owen Meany” …

    When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time — the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes — when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever — there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
    ― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

    Bless you my friend!! Keep writing! You aren’t the only one who gains by it!

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