MHI: POSTSCRIPT POSTMORTEM by Ken MacGregor
Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health
The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.
I don’t remember our vows, specifically. I do remember that somewhere in there we each spoke a version of the classic “Till death do we part”. I was 34, and you 26: we had decades.
Except we didn’t, did we? We had almost exactly seventeen years. Seventeen years and eight days, to be precise. That’s when you died.
And now, I’m left here—wounded but alive—raising our kids on my own. I’m hanging tough, trying to figure out what life without you is supposed to look like. It’s been almost four years, so it’s getting…easier. I guess.
However, there are things I want to say to you. Important, heart-wrenching things to be sure. But mundane, everyday, boring things too. All the things.
I expected you to be there when our kids graduated high school. When they first fell in love. When they moved out, one and then the other, to make it on their own. “Till death do us part” was supposed to be in our eighties or nineties. Not when I was barely past fifty. Felt like we were just getting started.
No one tells you this part about being widowed. All the things that get left unsaid. And the frustration that comes with that. All the times I turn my head to tell you something, only to realize, all over again, that you’re gone.
Since I can’t talk to you anymore, I write horrible things. Call it cheap therapy. Catharsis. Pain disguised as fiction. With each story, I purge a little more darkness. I get a bit lighter. Fictional horror is helping me to overcome real-life horror. Some of the things I never got to say to you are now in print. It’s my final “I love you.” My last goodbye