Years – Survived By His Wife by Margaret Flanagan Eicher


This poem can be found in the anthology “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” edited by Sandra Martz.


Survived By His Wife
by Margaret Flanagan Eicher

Eyes swollen she lay in their bed —
Head covered, legs drawn up,
cold though her forehead was damp —
who had warmed herself on his warm flesh.

Now his absence was a constant companion:
his hairbrushes, his keys,
his clothes still smelling of him
in his closet, covered, like museum artifacts.

She shuddered, remembering the shoes he wore
were still beneath the bed
exactly as he left them,
as if covered by a glass case.

All of the things he had handled,
used, inhabited, and finally left
were covered or lying about
like the frames of stolen paintings left behind.


Responses to Depression

Second blog posting. At first thought, it would seem amazing because of my tendency toward procrastination and avoidance and yet it is probably another example of where depression takes me – and it seems to have taken a turn in a worse direction this year. I have literally been occupying my mind every spare moment with reading and computer time.

My avoidance activities can sometimes take on useful forms, such as spending every  spare minute enhancing projects for work or pouring everything into an assignment for school. Then there are the times when I do dishes instead of work on paying bills, or work on paying bills instead of cleaning the bathroom.  There is a definite hierarchy.

My most extensive avoidance activity was being in school for 10 years working on bachelors and masters degrees. Of course, they are useful – and I did work full time while doing it – but school pretty much overshadowed all aspects of my life between 1996 and 2006. That stint followed the loss of a baby boy on 12.31.95. (He would have been Robert’s only child and my 3rd.)


And in the midst of the 10-year school marathon, on 7.23.02 I lost my best friend to an asthma attack. We met when we were both 20 and each had one child.   We grew up together and learned how to be mothers together and suffered through divorces together and celebrated new love and marriages…we shared everything. Our timelines were synchronicity, until it was time for her to go. We were best friends for 25 years. I will never have another friend like her. Our friendship was once-in-a-lifetime – something many people never have even once. I should be happy to have had her – and I AM – but the loss is devastating and the ache of it is always in the background ready to fill me up when I look at it.

Patty Journal

But now  I seem to be having an internal crisis centered around where I am in my life. Most of it is too personal to commit to a journal. It feels like the stages of grief and I am stuck in the depression-reflection step. I pray for acceptance.

What did I do today? (answering that question is what I really thought this blog would be about.)  I got up early and spent 40 minutes on the elliptical machine (no programmed resistance, I am just now conditioning myself). I went to work after taking 2 days off. Despite being off on Monday,  I attended a board meeting  as well as editing and turning in some  documents. A couple of staffing issues also came up and I was able to keep in the loop on them.  I text with lots of my employees, so I am accessible all the time and I’m glad to be able to handle things as they come up.  When I got to work and got into email I had about 16 schedule change requests (I’m very flexible) and 4 time card adjustments to make.  Then there were all the other regular things to do.  After work I got back on the elliptical for an hour, then showered and ate some dinner and now I’m on the computer.

While on the elliptical I was reading. It was an awful book – poorly written – but it served adequately as a tool of avoidance. I tolerate the mediocre writing, because the genre is just now growing. The demand is higher than available reading options, so there isn’t enough grist to  push the quality up.  What I’m reading are m/m romance novels which I hadn’t heard of until recently, but I find them to be very compelling escapism. It’s been absolutely years since I picked up a romance. Given my line of work, I know all the reasons never to apologize for one’s reading choices, but I confess to having been a snob when it comes to romance.  But now I can’t seem to read enough of them. They are quite different from typical hetero romance and I love the differences.

Maybe I’ll get more into the topic of m/m romance another time. I’ve made a study of it these past months.

So that’s it for today. More fun and games tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be less maudlin, but no guarantees.