If you know me in real life and have found this blog, please honour my wishes and don't read on. I need this place to freely write my feelings to help me to heal and if you're reading, I'll censor myself. I have no way of knowing who is reading so all I can do is trust you to honour my wishes. Thank you.

(this doesn't apply to any of my fellow mums of angels I've been lucky enough to meet in real life)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'I kept myself alive'

My favourite columnist in our paper wrote about
grief last week. One paragraph jumped out at me:
Oates' book ends with a chapter headed The Widow's Handbook, which reads in its entirety: "Of the widow's countless death-duties there is really just one that matters: on the anniversary of her husband's death the widow should think I kept myself alive."


  1. I Love the column too, I had to look up words. Have you read the year of magical thinking or the widows handbook. Its really hard to find stories that weave grief into them as a natural part of life. I have asked Librarians to find them but they are not usually classified by grief and loss even if its a major theme. I read the household guide to dying, its an aussie book and its written by Debra Adelaide, its fictional but she has some real life experience to draw from. I loved that too.

  2. When the author implicates, 'I kept myself alive', what is the sense behind it? Is it a sense of guilt that she is still living when the beloved is gone or is it akin to a celebration of survival?

  3. Julie - I had trouble finding the grief stories like that as well. I've read the Year of Magical Thinking and the Household guide to dying - I actually read both of them for the first time before Matilda died. Sometimes I wonder if I was meant to end up here.

    St Elsewhere - I think (well this is definitely how I read it) that she's saying all that can be expected from a widow/widower in the first year is simply to survive. To expect anything else from someone who's suffered a major loss is just too much. And I agree with that.