Monday, June 15, 2015
1. The Anger Stage, and 2. A New Computer
All right, class, we have discussed the non-linear properties of grief. Non-linear means that the stages of grief which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described for us do not happen in order. You don’t work your way through them like lessons from a textbook. More like they work their way through you, at unexpected times. Last night I tripped and fell into the anger stage. A friend posted online that after twenty years of marriage, he and his wife had been talking about which of them might die first, and each of them expressed the wish to go first in order not to be the one left behind. “Isn’t that romantic?” he said, making a joke of it. This is not funny, I thought. Because my husband was so ill the last five years of his life, it looked like he was going to die first, but when we talked about it we both acknowledged that You Never Know. I could have a car wreck or a heart attack and be gone in an instant. He expressed his wish that we both go at the same time. I said, speak for yourself, buster. I might not be ready to go when you are. He then said that if I died first, he would stop dialysis and die himself. That made me angry – what about the people here who would need you? After he died, though, I understood his thinking. It is so hard to go on without him. Occasionally I have to decide, again, to go on living. Unless you’ve lost someone as close to you as a spouse or a child, you cannot possibly imagine how much you long for the life and the person you used to have. If I’d gone at the same time he did, there would have been no grief, at least not for me. I can’t get my old life back. Sometimes it’s harder than other times to keep walking into the new life. It sucks, and it blows, and it tears the rag off the bush. It ain’t fair, and it ain’t right. It simply is. If you catch my drift. My friend and his wife were talking about the inevitable end of their life together. One will die, and no one knows who or when or how. This is not a subject that people can talk about easily. I understand that you might want to joke, to keep the specter of your own death or that of your spouse at a distance. That makes perfect sense to me, but I was not in the mood last night. Joking about spousal death ticked me off. You want to know how you’ll feel if you’re the one left behind? Stunned. Destroyed. Devastated. Crazy. Numb. For a long, long time. It is not “romantic” not to want to be the one left behind, it is self-defense. Do have a plan: make your will. Live as fully as you can, let the people you love know that you love them. Be kind. Have those discussions about death as you are able. Or don’t. It’s the love and the kindness that matter. And that’s all I have to say about that. PP Now I shall speak about the death of a machine. It was plain that my old computer was going down, so I got a new computer to replace it. Two weeks after the new computer arrived, the old computer went from quirky to non-functional. Non-functional is when nothing you try to open will open, not even the clunky old solitaire games. Sigh. Good-bye, old Paint. My computer needs are modest. Here’s what I do on computers: play solitaire and online games, write in Word, get email and check Facebook. I look up every stray question on Google, and I shop online. Sometimes I look up houses and used cars. When I was young I used to fantasize about men, but now it is more fun to fantasize about real estate and Subaru Foresters. I wanted Windows 7, but got Windows 8.1. Remember when you got your first computer, and you sat there and stared at it and wondered how the heck to do anything with it? First time I started my Windows 8.1 computer, I felt that lost again. I had heard that 8.1 is designed mainly to telephones and tablets, and that there was a steep learning curve. I heard right. Fortunately, the computer came with lots of tutorials and information. When I found the desktop things started looking more familiar. Took me a week and a half to find the Office 365 software I downloaded, but I’ve got it now, so that’s all right. So here I am working on a Windows 8.1 computer, and it’s not so bad, but I had to download solitaire, and I will never understand why Microsoft keeps fixing things that aren’t broken. I guess they have to make a living.