Saturday, August 30, 2014

On the razor's edge

When I came home from the hospital after Tom died, everything was still as we had left it three days earlier. Used towels hung on the racks, rumpled sheets, Tom's razor and shaving brush still on the counter in the bathroom.  It was surreal.  Life was utterly ordinary when I went to work on Wednesday, and unimaginably not when I returned.

I went into the bathroom, looked at it all, and realized that he had no use of these things anymore, nor would anyone else.  I put the razor and brush into the trash can next to the sink, and systematically went through the house removing the traces of the last day, subtly altering the terrain to accommodate one, not two.  My exhausted parents watched, but did not try to stop me.
We came home this week to the detritus of a less permanent and  harrowing departure, but the after images of that other return home remained.  His razor on the counter in the bathroom, his towel hanging on the hook behind the door.  His tousled sheets. For a moment both realities were superimposed.

Once again I put towels in the wash, put away shaving cream and razor, and hung my robe on the door, transforming the guys' bathroom into a space for a soaking bath.

Now is not then, but neither time nor grief is precisely linear, they crisscross the everyday, crashing into each other at odd moments, in unexpected ways.  Like in the bathroom.


  1. I will not go into details but I can relate to the description of your experience although mine was very different. It has been twelve years since my life changed and I was given my freedom but one small innocent comment can trigger emotions that I don't want to relive ever. It is good for us to be aware of the possibility of this happening. Prayers for you and your family as you all adjust.

  2. It's very strange, how triggers work. I'm surprised at how the subconscious has its own memory, its own connection with time in a way that the conscious does not. Odd little things can intersect the two mental experiences. (This isn't science that I know of, this is just my experience and my experience of others' experience, particularly dv clients.) It's a little eerie, not knowing when to expect the intersections. I very much appreciated the reality of your last two sentences.

  3. Bless you. Thank you for telling this.