Days 1/4/2021






Days, months, hours, years of sadness and suffering. Well, not years yet. But years stretching ahead. And would they all be filled with pain and loneliness like this? And now this new worry! How could he deal with what had happened? Hell, if he accepted—and he did, more and more, every day—that his wife was still there, it was in for a penny, in for a pound. If she was still there, in some way that evoked echoes of all that stuff Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance…”

Well, if that was real, and she could reach out to him, and he could reach out to her…

            But now the two women he had felt some interest in since her death had both had accidents the day before the times they’d set up to meet. And that was pretty alarming. One of the accidents was catastrophic. Life threatening. The poor woman had literally been run over by a truck!

            He missed his wife so much he felt bent down and twisted, like a fragile old tree in a winter storm. But he remembered her jealousy too, and how it had cost him a lucrative freelance job a few years before she passed. So was she reaching out from another world to prevent him from seeing others? Perhaps even harming them? And was he responsible? Was he going to have to be alone for the rest of his life, just so he wouldn’t attract her attention to innocent women?

            She had passed at the end of Spring, and when the anniversaries came, every one hit him like a tsunami. But he started to feel like maybe what was making it hurt so much was his resistance. He tried to be more accepting, and then he started to think that maybe those waves were her, trying to reach him from the other side. That opened his heart, and it got better, maybe from 12 on scale of 1 to 10 down to 10.

            Their anniversary, the day they met, his birthday, hers. Thanksgiving came and went. Friends helped, made him Thanksgiving dinner. And then Christmas was looming. But a miracle happened. Or that’s the way he saw it. A friend who’d been his wife’s main caregiver brought a box of Christmas stuff, which he set aside. Christmas without her seemed like an oxymoron, but he’d put up some lights and decorations. Even spelled their initials, two “J’s” on the outside wall with a garland of blue lights. But the thought of not getting a gift from her was weighing on his heart like a mountain had fallen.

            And then he finally noticed the label on a funny looking big popper sort of thing, wrapped in Christmas paper. And it said from her, love, to him! And the weight lifted away like a big balloon! He knew she hadn’t made that label, but there it was, her love, for him, reaching across from the beyond.

            The wonder of that little label loosened his heart and when he saw what the package contained it broke wide open. Rolled up in the cheery paper was his wife’s last hooked wall hanging. She’d started it from a photograph he’d taken of a perky squirrel sitting on a decorative birdhouse. And here it was, hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny loops of colored wool thread pulled one by one with her fingers through the coarse weave of the underlying fabric. It was saturated with her, with the touch of her fingers and the bright light of her creative artistry. And he was overwhelmed, crying and laughing at the same time. She had reached across the great divide to him, yet again.

            But what was he supposed to do now? Should he keep trying to meet women? Or was he putting them in danger? What did he really know about how it all worked? God. His first wife had died too. Maybe it was her interfering. It was 11:30, bedtime again, but dawn was a long ways away.



Jim Dodd


 My own story is about trying to make a good new life, here in Vermont. It's seven months now since Alzheimer's took my wife from me, and I've been taking courses and working with Burlington Writing Workshop. Hard times, especially the holidays, but she was with me, as you'll see by the piece below.


Two pieces on                                                                        10-19-2020 & 1-6-2021

One poem on               12-17-2020

One short fiction on                                            10-21-2020

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