I buried my wife in the summer of ‘98. My face didn’t show enough sorrow for the occasion. The faces all around the fine, elegant casket kept stealing glances at mine; they were observably disgusted by my apparent lack of grief. In truth, they weren’t wrong. I actually felt a sense of relief, albeit guilty relief, like when a sick dog who had long since crossed over from companion to burden, finally passes. I kept telling myself that the reality of the situation just hadn’t hit me yet. I can usually assuage my guilt with a good lie.
I had stayed by her side until her dying day, holding her hand until she eased into worlds beyond. By the end, I felt little emotion about her condition. But just because I felt very little does not mean she didn’t perceive vast love in my every action. Actions can show feelings that aren’t there, and I gave her every feeling she could have needed at the time.
Am I heartless? Am I a monster because I didn’t particularly care? I don’t think the answer is a simple one. I did everything for her that a caring person would do and more. She felt cared for. She felt deeply loved— and that’s what really matters.
K.J. Hanson is a well-meaning short story and humor writer in his free time. He is an avid reader of mystery novels as well as short stories of any genre. He lives in Howell, Michigan with his wife and two children (10)(1). To date, he has been published in PTQ, Free Flash Fiction, and on Stack.com.
A growing collection of K.J.’s writing can be found at KJHansonStories.com/stories.