Thursday, March 24, 2016

#SOL16: No Language

The Alphabet is No Language (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

It wasn't until we were already in the car, driving around the lake and heading to Devon's high school this morning. We were just about a mile from the house when I first thought of Rob. I can't recall any recent time that I didn't wake in the morning and first think of him. Some mornings I wake in a panic, thinking I need to get downstairs to check on him. Other mornings I wake with the knowledge that he is gone. I'm not sure what to make of this morning. The understanding that I hadn't begun the day thinking of him caused my stomach to clench.

Grieving happens in waves and sinkholes. Each day tears come and go like a wave washing over me. Each day deep, unbearable pain seizes me and sobbing steals my voice. Both happen daily. Every day and most often without warning.

I'm learning to trust the necessity of both and am standing still in these feelings. Now, it isn't so much shock, but rather a profound sadness that grips me. I know no words that can capture even a slim sense of the loss. The alphabet is inadequate. Across each day I come to name and rename with great immediacy what Rob's death means to me. For example, this afternoon I was out walking and I had my phone in my back pocket. When I heard the phone ring, signaling an incoming call I immediately smiled thinking it was Rob. For so many years, afternoon calls were most often him.

The last time Rob phoned was February 12.  He was still in the hospital at that time. I saved the voice mail he left me and I replay it most days.  It is these very ordinary things--theones that typified our days that most catches my heart, causing me to falter a bit. 


  1. A powerful blending of words and art, Mary Ann. Only those who have experienced grief can understand its language. It's a complex one and has unique tones and inflections for each individual who goes through it. The other day I almost called my mom, then remembered she's gone. I cried and then recalled the look of elation on her face as she sat on my back deck and soaked up the warmth of a winter sun, during her last visit, a month before she died. I felt her love and smiled.

    1. A sweet memory to soothe. I'm not sure I understand the language of grief. Or perhaps I just don't want to.


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