Alone.

Alone. Irrevocably, irreversibly, incontrovertibly, and utterly alone.

My wife, Eva Parsons, died after two and one half years of being afflicted with metastatic breast cancer on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 8:00 a.m.

Eva and I had prepared for her death almost from the moment she was diagnosed. Eva generated a great storehouse of equanimity to deal with her cancer. She was not angry about getting the disease; she was not afraid to die; she was not sad that her life would come to an end at 65. She accepted her death, and taught many of us about dying without the typical drama that surrounds a cancer death. She managed her life effectively until her last breath.

On the morning she died, I was with my daughter, Samantha. We stayed by Eva’s side for a while, hugged, checked in with each other, and then went on with the day as it unfolded. For a while, I felt like I was in a vacuum, but that passed almost right away. Sam stayed in Alaska for the next day, and left Saturday morning; I took her to the airport for her six o’clock flight to Nashville.

On the return drive home from Anchorage, I practiced my intentional breathing, and managed to not think about what I had lost, or to think about what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Eva directed me to live a long life, to be kind, and to set a “good example.” I think the “good example” part was her humor; I’ll never know; there’s nobody to ask.

I arrived home, let the Labs out of the car, and into the house. They ambled to whatever part of the house suited them and left me alone, standing in the kitchen with shafts of early morning sunlight coming through the window and splashing on the kitchen floor.

As I stood just inside the door, alone, I had a long moment of awareness: from that time on, I was utterly, irrevocably, irretrievably, and completely alone for the rest of my life. I stood there for minutes while I absorbed the feeling. I have never been completely alone in 65 years. Everything had changed forever, I realized. I think the word for this feeling is “bereft.” It seems like the right word.

Of course, I have lots of support. Now. Many friends say, “If you need anything, just call.” I appreciate their gesture. Eventually, everyone returns to their routine because their lives have not changed.

I, on the other hand, have changed, or rather, my world has shifted: I am alone.

I am okay with being alone for now; I’ll be okay later, also.

It is just an unsettling feeling to be alone without reprieve, and not be able to return to the companionship I shared with Eva for 44 years. She is gone forever; I will continue without her for a very, very long time. Sad. Bereft. Alone. At least for now.

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20 thoughts on “Alone.

  1. Matt J. Kerr

    Very eloquent and touching, Jeff. A part of Eva will always remain in your heart, but you already know that. Also, you still have Samantha, though she’s living her own life, far far away now. Those labs are depending on you, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie St. John

    Love your words! Well spoken. It is said that divorce is like a death. This last year has seen quit a journey . I’m in such a better place . My interpretation of alone is Just One! I thank god for my son Andy. Sam is you and Eva’s greatest gift .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sam is a gift, Debbie. Did you read the blog “What Rhymes with Duck”? Eva’s greatest joy was Sam; Sam left her job at Honeywell just to hang with Eva for the last nine weeks of Eva’s life.

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  3. I’m sad that you have to go through this, Jeff. I think that many of us say “call if you need anything”, simply because we don’t know how else to help. All I can do is be sad for/with you. If you ever need to get away from it all for a bit, you know where I am, and you are welcome here any time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie. You are solidly placed in my support group. When I need to talk, or hang out, you can be sure I won’t be shy about landing on your doorstep. I have lots of support folks who are never too busy; ever. I’ll be in touch. I got the “Breathing” book you recommended. It came last week; I plan to look at it on the other side of 93 thank you notes that are yet to be written. Plus, I have a direct line to Gilbert’s creative store: about eight great blogs are in the queue awaiting my putting them on paper. I’m good for now.

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  4. Nancy Edenfield

    This may not be the right time for this, but I have a male friend that married again 10 months after his wife of 33 years passed away. People were snickering of course! I asked him one day how could he find someone so soon after the death. He said he was so happily married that he wanted that feeling always in his life and entered into an avid search for a new partner in honor of his late wife! I thought that was the sweetest most honest comment to make! They have now been married 10 years! He found another good lady! “Bereft” is a good word for you right now but you don’t ever have to be alone if you don’t want to be. Love is always there. From your old friend, Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your contribution, Nancy. Eva and I discussed my future extensively; we shared the same thoughts on remarrying. We even joked about it. Eva, could find humor in unexpected places. We’ll compare notes this Summer, Nancy.

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  5. Scooter Bentson

    Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts and feelings. The hard part of redefining yourself without your beloved Eva begins, and you are surrounded by friends, love and prayer. May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LISA E SERAN

    The writing here feels bleak, austere, harsh. Encapsulating very well the feeling of “alone”. Many searchers have their moment of “discovery” because they have spent time alone. There is a purpose to it. Keep going, embrace this time, this too shall pass – on its own schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cheryl

    Beautifully written, Jeff. Your loss and grief is new and raw and is reflected in your writing. In a year when you re-read this, share your thoughts then too. In the meantime, when you get down to Logan this summer, let me know and we’ll go for a bike ride or something….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jane

    I understand that writing helps transitions- I’ve always written in times of happiness and sadness. I sporadically journal for my girls so they’ll know how much I love them.
    Personally, I believe grief is non- discript… too powerful…
    I cannot fathom your place in life right now Jeff – thoughts & prayers always

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna Cooley

    I too remember that same complete awareness when I walked back into the home I shared with Joe, although I wasn’t brave enough to be with the aloneness. I wasn’t really alone, Seth was with me but he was only six months old, so may good friend Janice stayed with me several nights til I could mentally adjust my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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