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Past tense

Friday marked six months since my wife was killed. This milestone has had me reflecting on the past. More specifically on the past tense.

Something I’ve struggled with since the day she died was how to talk about her in the present. I spent the first few weeks after her death in grammatical denial: ‘she does this’, ‘she likes this’, ‘she goes to the other’. All just linguistic attempts at keeping her in the here and now. It didn’t take me long to realise that I was doing it or to feel conscious that people might feel uncomfortable around my contradictory diction.

Yet six months on, one verb still leaves me confused. One verb hasn’t made the transition from present to past. And I’ve just decided that that one verb never will. Love.

My wife may no longer be alive but my love still is, so it makes no sense to say I loved her. I still do.

The past is a verb tense that expresses actions or states in the past. My state of love still lives in the present. My love for my wife has no past tense.

So I’ve just got one thing to say.

I love you, Dessie. And so does our little boy.



This is syndicated content from Life as a widower

Content reproduced with the kind permission of Benjamin Brooks-Dutton

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