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Friday, 04 May 2012

Pinball Wizard

By Michael Gorodezky

We are sitting at the table and I mention that I’m worried about the future. I say, ”I feel like this is a pinball game and we are one of the bumpers in the corner. For some reason, we haven’t been whacked by the pinball. We are just sitting here waiting for a shiny steel ball to scream out of the corner and hit us. We are so lucky that it hasn’t happened yet.”

Eileen looks at me curiously and says, “But we have both already been hit.”

I think and realize that I have set aside the fact that we both cared for our spouses at the end of their lives. But I’m just looking ahead and worrying about the future pinball. I ignore surviving a giant hammer that beat us up every day - for years.

I had thought I had managed my grief to the point that I was no longer reliving some of the more ghastly scenes. I’m still hoping to be able to enjoy the memories that preceded Cancer. Or as I just read in a short story: “Cancer World.”

If you have been there as a caregiver, you know all about Cancer World. If you don’t, I’m not going to tell you.

A few days ago, I heard an 80-year-old man speak of his grief at the loss of his spouse (50 years). The hatch-cover for my grief, which I thought was pretty firmly in place, came quite loose. In fact, the door swung wide open and I felt overcome with tears and sobbing.

After Sarah died, I didn’t do much crying. I have been able to do more of that these past four years. Eileen and I understand and I can cry with her. We both have our moments. But this gentle man, who spoke of wrapping love around his grief really unlocked me for a few moments.

Later, I marveled at the strength of my emotions. I used the term electrocuted and then realized the term was electric. I felt shocked.

Although I didn’t need a reminder, this was an affirmation that grief is forever. When Sarah first died and I was speaking with people, I began to say, ”I have a wound that will never heal. It is not infected. I’m okay but it is never going to heal.”

Still true.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


You have written a very touching story.
Thank you for sharing your grief as it translates and expresses itself into emotions. Very inspiring!!

Your story is very moving.

I don’t believe we ever get over losing someone we have loved. I don’t know the meaning of closure.

Even if I thought the healing was complete after such a loss, it only takes a moment for someone or something to reopen the wound.

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing so honestly your emotions.

Thank you, for writing what so many of us hold inside.

A wonderful message, delivered beautifully. Thank you.

Wonderfully said. Love endures and time may put a scab over the wound, but it will never go away.


I am very sorry for your loss.

Perhaps when you are feeling stronger, you can write us about the good times you had with Sarah.

I didn't have a chance to grieve at the time of my loss but now, several years later, some little thing will remind me of my loss and make me very sad - or happy for the experience.Your story brought that to mind.

Thank you for sharing about such a personal issue..from the comments it really rang home to many of us readers..I worried my entire life about dying young, and then when I had children, I worried even more on another level. I know how I missed my parents, who died before they were 45 and not too many years apart..Never getting to say good bye never entered my mind at l7 or 20..nor getting time to grieve..At 7l once in a great while I fret about how my grandchildren missing me, so in a way that comes full circle..My parents barely got to see me and my sisters and my brother at all and now I am fretting about grandkids..Maybe that is how we heal..I always resisted the better to have loved and loss thing, but it is better always to have loved..Maybe loss is temporary and love is forever or something equally sappy...Like the other comments when you can do it focus on what you do miss and the many happy days you had..It will never make it easier just different. You are brave to voice it all...It helps lots of other people focus too and sigh with you. Thank you.

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