Why did you do it?


I was hiding in a muddy ditch, the run-off water from the war-torn landscape surrounding me was pouring over the top of my boots. I felt the cold water running down my legs around my ankles, filling the void between my feet, my socks, and the worn leather boots, one of the few possessions I had: boots, the clothing on my back, and what was left of my self-esteem. The only things remaining from the long love affair with my beloved.

A line of enemy soldiers was walking slowly on the road above me. I stayed deathly quiet hoping not to be discovered. To the solders, marching the road in the twilight, I would be seen as one of the many corpses rolled off the road, shot so they wouldn’t interfere with the flow of the war machinery and troops moving to establish a new battle front. Some of my comrades rolled into the ditch were still alive, groaning from mortal wounds, not a threat to the enemy anymore. I was one of them, but alive enough to be a threat.

One of the soldiers looked my way, something about how my body was positioned attracted her attention. She broke ranks; drawing her pistol, she walked directly to me and stood over me. From my chest down position, I straightened and defiantly confronted her.

This was a take-no-prisoners war, no Geneva conventions, no rules, just unmitigated hate for another human being. Humanity was now God-less.

She calmly raised her pistol, cocked the hammer, aimed directly at my forehead and fired.

Her pistol discharges: An awful blast ensued in front of me, causing the bones in my face to vibrate and my teeth to chatter.

Ha, you missed me, I thought, my body propelled backward into the ditch already dead from the wound.

I must have shifted in my sleep because my dream also changed course: They say the body takes an average of eight minutes to die after the last breath. I always wanted to find that answer and what it was like to die. No one came back from the dead to let me know. Now, I have the answer. It would be good if I could tell others what dying was like, that would be my contribution to the ultimate knowledge of the Universe. I had obviously committed suicide by gun-shot. I thought about it: I could have used the meds, or cut my arteries, I know how to cut, a remnant from my former life.

Angel nudged my dream-state: “Well, it’s done now. You have left those who love you to grieve and sort it out, which is the downside that we spoke of many times.” My Angel was very distressed over my sudden decision to let go.

“Angel, I didn’t want to give you, or anyone time to interfere with my plans. If I was going to go, it had to be quick. I simply had to join my beloved in the Universe. The longer I waited, the more difficult it would become to catch up with her.” 

My poor Angel, after all those years waiting to help me cross the Vail, I didn’t give her time to show me an alternative.

“I can fix this and make it just a bad dream.”

With Angel’s words, I awoke with a start.

“What am I doing?” I cried out to no one. Angel rapidly retreated back into my subconscious.


Peg is gone and I can’t get her back. I want to join her on her journey into the Universe, I want to be with her. These are my thoughts and the content of many dreams about taking my life. However, I cannot bring her back; taking my own life to be with her would rule out any possibility of my writing about her passing.

Two months ago, Peg passed into the Universe and began her new Journey. Instead of a physical being, she is now comprised of pure energy, which contains the very essence of her soul.

The date of her passing, Oct 5th 2020, will never leave my memory. Now when I know the 5th of each month is coming, I automatically slip into the condition of grieving for her. My grief causes adrenalin and cortisol to flood my body. Both hormones are designed to protect my physical body from danger. Contrary to their purpose, the hormones wreak havoc with my physical health.     

Widower, a condition not exactly similar to widowhood. It is the difference between men and women and must be treated as so. I hope my explanation of my journey into being a widower will enlighten many, especially men, who find themselves in my position. 

We had been married for fifty-two years. She was the love of my life, and now I am without her trying to make sense of what my new life will be like.

In the room where I write, every day I look out the window and see a doe walking by – it seems the little doe appears at the times I need reassurance.

Writing is the most important thing I can do to preserve my loved one’s memory and to keep my sanity. Nevertheless, I have entered a new world of voluntary insanity, magical and irrational thinking, that if it weren’t for being a grieving widower, I might be committed. 

I have a habit of going out of the house most nights, just before darkness covers me with the peaceful still of the night. The quiet of the night is my time to communicate with the Universe. Now I also communicate with her soul, sometimes in the form of that doe.

I talk to the doe out loud just as I would if my loved one was still living. My loved one is now living in a new form, one of the wonders of the Universe. The doe stays quite still and looks directly at me. I receive my answers in the form of a mysterious telepathy that only lovers in a long-term relationship understand; a feeling, in place of an actual conversation or simply a poignant glance.

The Universe now supplies me with many opportunities to communicate with Peg’s soul. The doe is one example, other animals, found objects from our past, even changes in the weather allow me to remain in contact with her.

Now she is gone, her soul is everywhere around me, I only need to take a break from my grieving to receive her communications. It is true I will no longer be able to possess her physically, greatly adding to my distress at her passing. My ability to communicate with her soul is still as strong as it ever was when she was physically living; we would sit quietly in each other’s presence and know intuitively what was on the other person’s mind.


I offer my story of Peg’s passing into the Universe and my journey to find my way after her death, in the hopes you will see some parallels to comfort you on your journey surviving the loss of your loved one.

Day in and Day Out

I am enveloped in a fog, a mist; I reside in a magical place, a place between two worlds. One commonly spoken of as reality, and another place, the dream world where I can once again live with Peg.

It is dusk now, figuratively in the sense that I am coming to the end of my own life, and actually dusk, a forbidden time for me. Dusk can be a time of incredible beauty or a time of great sorrow. A time for crying and for dying. A time of gratitude for a day and a life well lived. Or a time spent reflecting on a great loss.

The yin and the yang, happiness and hopelessness, richness and loss. A jumble of emotions, which overload my neural networks and cause me great confusion. A place of in-between.

I have been living here, in this place of in-between for months. Not fully being able to understand what happened to me, what happened to us, the us forged over a lifetime of living in each other’s company. 

It is worse now. Four months from when she died and my daily grieving is unrelentless. Everything I think about, even my dreams, trigger my realization that Peg is gone. The worst times are when I awake from a dream state where I actually can hear her and feel her body next to mine, exactly as it was, perfect in every detail as if I had gone back to the morning when we both got up to start the day, the day when she died.

Grieving upsets my whole body, not just my mind. My body has been finely tuned, tuned to operate on a schedule learned and reaffirmed from all of my daily experiences. Tuned to live everyday with Peg. With Peg’s death, my mind and body suffered a terrible shock. Now nothing is as it was before. A huge part of me, the part that was Peg, is now missing. I can barely function with the pathetic part, me, that still exists.

It is common wisdom that the longer our loving relationship was, the greater the depth of despair.

Looking through the research online offered for the bereaved, I found a number of similarities to my experiences and the experiences of other widowers. Confusion, chest pains, headaches, heart aches, shortness of breath, depression, unexplained body pains, weight loss, weight gain, nightmares, not enough sleep, too much sleep. The list is endless, all caused by a mind/body combination seriously compromised by a great trauma. The trauma of losing my dearly beloved.

In the first month after her death I was stunned, falling into a condition of doing the daily chores and finishing the needed paperwork caused by her death, I was on auto-pilot. Then as weeks wore on, I was forced to create a new daily routine without Peg. The persistent reminders of our life together and the realization that she was never coming back got the best of me.

One day the pain in my chest became very great and would not subside. I knew I didn’t have heart trouble, for in the past I kept a regular schedule of physical exams, no heart abnormality was found. I began to believe it was the well-known broken-heart syndrome, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Although serious, I read the symptoms tend to lessen over time. I decided not to pursue it with a cardiologist, preferring to wait longer and call my doctor. 

My doctor, a man younger than I but experienced with the elderly, returned my call promptly. I told him of my plight. My doctor knows I prefer not to take prescription medicines unless I absolutely have to. He prescribed a medicine used to treat surgery anxiety and pain. The medicine did not have to be taken every day to be effective. I could use it on demand. The downside is that it is a powerful sedative and I shouldn’t drive or expect to be a productive writer while it is in my system. One pill a day when needed is the prescription. It is very effective. I take it on occasion when my grief becomes overwhelming.

I know what I am doing, I am buying time to allow me the needed consideration of what has happened. Time to piece together a new life, a life without Peg.


It is 4:30 a.m., I awake fully expecting to hear and feel Peg lying next to me. It is not to be, she is gone and never coming back. I burst into heaves of crying, tears upon tears, sob after sob without any breaks until I am finally spent of that memory, which triggered such strong emotion.

I lie in bed not wanting to get up, time passes, 5:30, then 7, and my Protestant work ethic prods me from my tear-stained pillow and the warm comfort of our bed. It will be another day of very little productivity and great pain. The medicine works well, almost too well. My chest pain subsides and I enter into a quiet, peaceful wakefulness.

I talk to Peg, asking her to wait for me. I will be along soon enough. I ask for her forgiveness for any transgression and pain I may have caused her during our time together. No answer is immediately forthcoming, I wish it was. These are the questions I will have to answer on my own, making the pain of her loss much greater.

To those of faith in the power of the Universe, it is known the answers may not come immediately, nor in a form I would expect, but the answers will come over time. Time is one of the problems. The first two years after a great loss is a dangerous time for widowers. The odds of taking my own life to be with Peg are very high. The thought of being with her considerably outweighs the life of pain I am enduring now.

Several years ago, Peg and I put together a plan of yearly spending in case we needed help several times a week or daily to keep us in our home as long as we could. Those plans and the proper papers to allow an orderly transfer of joint assets to the survivor allowed us to create a budget to pay for the needed help. We have been fortunate in having a number of qualified people willing to serve us if the time and need came. Well, that time and need is here.

The way I feel now, grieving so intently, I wouldn’t be able to care for myself easily without help. I do not want to burden our children or our friends with what has become my daily needs.

Our world is in the grip of a global pandemic, Covid-19, greatly complicating my basic needs of shopping and housekeeping and taking care of the cats and our goat, let alone satisfying my need for contact with another person. The nights are the worst, I am alone.

When Peg had her stroke in October of 2020, the Covid-19 lockdown had been lifted at the hospital, I was able to be with her in the ICU and arrange hospice. I came to the realization Peg would not want to live with her considerable infirmities caused by her stroke. Peg’s health power stipulated she did not want extraordinary health care intervention. Peg would rather die in the comfort of her home with her beloved cats, her children and me.

Peg passed away within four days of bringing her home. Still, I ask myself daily if there was anything I could have done, in retrospect, that would have created a different outcome for Peg. These are the questions that make my grieving so difficult as well as the constant vision and remembrance of Peg’s last hours.

During our fifty-two-year relationship, we were together most of the time, except for nights when I traveled for business or the few times I indulged in a hobby where I would need to stay away overnight. We were always together, which included the fact we slept in the same bed for our entire relationship.

Peg and I often discussed the cases of elderly couples dying within hours of each other. We felt we were always connected to each other’s hearts. I seemed to know Peg’s thinking intuitively without asking. In our bed during the night, I was awakened before Peg moved around in bed. She would ask, “Did I wake you?” “No,” I would reply. “I was already awake.” Which was the truth, I had anticipated the change in Peg’s natural sleeping rhythm even as I was sleeping.   

In a study done by Emilio Ferrer, a UC Davis psychology professor who conducted a series of studies on couples in romantic relationships, he found that couples connected to monitors measuring heart rates and respiration get their heart rates in sync, and they breathe in and out at the same intervals. This fact was important to me when I read this quote from Mimi Guarneri, MD, “Couples at night, their heart rhythm goes into a synchronized pattern, which raises some very interesting issues. What happens when that pattern is broken? Or it’s not there?”

Peg is no longer here with me. Not only is the synchronized pattern broken, no familiar pattern exists for me. I am broken, trying desperately to make a future out of the torn remnants of our past.