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The Year Of Magical Thinking

The topics of grief and grieving were already on my mind, even before I caught the tail end of Joan Didion’s interview on Fresh Air last night. Another year has gone by and my brother is still dead. Today he would have been 35 years old. I don’t expect this is going to get any easier. I’m thinking I might read Joan Didion’s book, on the death of her husband. It sounds as though it might be painful to read. Sometimes that can be good, to really feel something. To connect with the grief. This bit from the article reminded me of something:

She structured her story by giving it no structure. She wanted to show how the mind works in grief, and through grief. Obsessively, she circled back to that fatal moment, looking for signs, imagining a different ending, believing her husband could somehow return, a symptom of her “magical thinking.”

I have a moment like that. The day Tom died we had all just stayed overnight at the hospital. The next morning we got up, left the room for a bit to stretch our legs, have a crappy breakfast in the cafeteria, step outside for just a minute, really, to get a breath of fresh air, and then we went back inside. And he was gone. I was washing my hands when I was told. It didn’t register. Had to wash my hands before entering his room you know, didn’t want to bring in any germs with his immune system weakened as it was from the chemo, only it didn’t matter anymore. Except my stunned brain wasn’t acknowledging that part. That he was gone. I think part of me will always be stuck in that moment, imagining a different outcome to Tom’s illness…a much happier one. One that would allow me to be celebrating his 35th birthday with him today.