It Can't Be True


It Can't Be True

Life has rarely been simple or easy in my world. I have learned to move forward and to grow and to have a life and it works for me most of the time. Friends have come and friends have gone. Family members have passed away. I am no stranger to working through and accepting and letting go. There are places in my life that challenge me and hurt more often than not yet even those things are in their rightful place. I see them but cannot do a thing about them. Tough but manageable.

Recently a dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. He was not sick. He was in a great place in his life and had many, many friends. His name was Allen. Allen had been in a wheelchair all of his life. He was raised by honest and wise country people who did not let him use the wheelchair as an excuse. As a result, he retired from our state government, had invested wisely and was financially independent. He had a wide range of interests, was one of the best conversationalists I have ever known and, so far as I know, had many, many people who loved and admired him. He was real and could be abrupt. He spoke his mind and was no weak man. Yet I have never met anyone who held anything against him. He was a classy, intelligent, fun and loving friend. He was my sponsor in AA. Well, I did use him as that but more often than not our relationship was a mutual friendship and a love for the times we spent together sharing a meal and talking and gossiping and agreeing to disagree. The last time I saw him alive he was in a great mood. We were joking with someone about me always putting his automated wheelchair in reverse by accident when I tried to give him a hug. Allen was always going to be there and available. He was always going to be glad to see me, shoot straight with me and listen to my drama queen woes. Yet he was more than that, so much more than that to me. And I cannot believe nor accept that he is gone.

I drive by the coffee shop and I cannot look at it or go in because he was often inside with friends. Going to Panera's is difficult because we often met there for one of our marathon conversations. Breathing air is more difficult because Allen is gone. Allen is gone and I cannot grasp it. I cannot grieve it because I cannot accept it. In the middle of it all, he is gone and I am not equipped nor do I want to be equipped to deal with it. I miss him every single day. We did not hang out all the time or call each other or go to movies together. I am married. It is not the habit of missing our times together that is the problem for me. The problem is that Allen is gone. My heart cannot let that be a reality. I have not allowed myself to think about him more than I could help it. I turn my head as I drive by the coffee shop. I do not go down the road in his neighborhood. I feel a deep angst followed by a denial flowing through me. Allen is gone. Allen cannot be gone.

I want to stomp my foot and shake my fist into the face of anyone who says Allen is dead. I want to run at life as hard as I can and force it to let go of Allen. Bring him back! Bring Allen back!

I feel like a small child in my sorrowing and desperation to undo what is in truth done. But it can't be that Allen is gone. I cannot allow it. I cannot acknowledge it. My heart can't handle his absence. I am not ready to let it be real. It cannot be real. I don't care if I sound like a child or,  well, I don't care how I sound. I simply cannot imagine here without Allen here.

I am frustrated by my efforts to express myself. It is not enough. Expressing myself does not help. Allen is still gone. Expressing myself is like so much dust in the air. It has no value. I hear myself and I sound unreal, disconnected. I think I must be lying. Allen is here. He must be here. But all along I know he is gone. I know he was found dead in his home. I know I won't see him here again and I can't spot him somewhere in town or run into him accidentally. Oh God help me! I cannot believe it in my heart. I miss him so much. I miss knowing he was on the face of the earth. Damn!

My heart is not ready to soften or to grieve or to discuss Allen's absence. Not ready at all. I don't find solace in talking memories or in conjecturing about what happened to him. I don't find any peace in any of this awful loss in my life. And, yes, I know many, many other people feel his absence but I am selfish in my incredulity at referring to him as dead. I stare at that word and it does not apply to Allen.

Enough! I just had to vent this and to somehow admit the awful hole Allen's absence has left in my heart. One day I will heal. But not today. Not today.

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Kathy Koenig

Lark, I am so sorry for this very profound loss. Please know that you are seen and held in your grief.


So sorry you have to post this heartbreaking news, but thank you for doing so. It never ceases to amaze me how the rest of the world can go on unaffected when my world has shattered. I share my deepest sympathy for your great loss.