Mythical and Imaginary

It has been happening since the day I received the phone call. I’ve been losing you. First you became this mythical, saintly Dan- created by the kind words of those who loved you closely and those who hadn’t seen you in many, many years. I wanted you back- the Dan who just walked around our apartment in white socks and basketball shorts bringing me a glass of water. Another widow told me that the real you- the one I know- would come back though- after everyone went back to their lives.

But now this is happening- the more I write and think- the more you become me and less “you.”

C.S. Lewis puts it perfectly in a “A Grief Observed” when writing about the loss of his own wife:

“Already, less than a month after her death, I can feel the slow, insidious beginning of a process that will make the H. I think of into a more and more imaginary woman. Founded on fact, no doubt. I shall put in nothing fictitious (or I hope I shan’t). But won’t the composition inevitably become more and more my own? The reality is no longer there to check me, to pull me up short, as the real H. so often did, so unexpectedly, by being so thoroughly herself and not me. The most precious gift that marriage gave me was this constant impact of something very close and intimate yet all the time unmistakably other, resistant—in a word, real”.

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