The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 2, Dr. Reichmann

He sat, stunned. What else was there when your entire life had been flipped upside down? Everything you knew, everyone you depended upon or that depended upon you – gone in an instant, wiped clean like a chalkboard, erased, only traces remaining, remnants, nothing but essence, lingering memories.

Where do you start again when all the pieces had been removed? Not gradually but suddenly as if being transposed to a different time, juxtaposed to a place where the people in your life no longer existed, had never existed except in your heart. Okay, maybe not your heart as they hadn’t actually treated you that well but certainly in your mind, your thoughts and memories. It was as if a portion of your life had been stamped out, forgotten to everyone but yourself, everyone wondering why you were different, affected, altered, why you remembered and they didn’t.

How do you explain such things? Do you even bother to try? Where, how, when do you start – to build your life anew again?

The news was tough, of course, though they’d been kind in its delivery. He couldn’t imagine what it was like to tell someone that the two most prominent people in his life – his current life that is as his mother surely had a lasting effect, even now, long after her death – were dead. That they had been gruesomely murdered by a psychopath. Sure, neither had used the offensive term being far too professional but Fred knew by the delicate way they danced about the details that the deaths had been far from accidental. That the murderer had made an example of the deceased and that it somehow had something to do with him.

Although they did seem confused – now, he thought about it, very confused, surprised – almost as much as he was. Funny how things came to you later, after the shock. Like a replay, when life’s little moments slow down to a frame-by-frame and you can recall the slightest details as if you were seeing them for the first time or the one hundred and first. The hours reduced to minutes, the minutes to seconds with the pause, freeze-frame, rewind, fast-forward buttons right there at your finger-tips.

Funny how the set of circumstances, the story told to him, zipped by in a flash, a haze, too stunned and shocked to recognize let alone process what they were saying – but now! The miracle of the human mind, so filled, overflowing with wonders even after all these years and him a doctor, an expert in his field and craft. It still amazed him.

Though utterly shocked, setback, he was amazed how little emotion he’d shown or felt now he had some time to think, the life-altering facts given only hours past. Or was it minutes? Days? How long since they’d told him? Does it matter? No, time is irrelevant in matters of the heart and he’d never been good with time. Am I still in shock or is it still too new, too fresh to register? Or do I not have the feelings, the emotions most others, everyone had? Were they vacant from him or were they special gifts for other people – all the people but him? Was he analyzing – like a doctor? Or feeling – like a husband and friend, boss, fellow human being?

Who was he fooling? He hadn’t been a husband or a boss for just about forever and never a friend. His wife – the bitch that she was, his mother re-incarnate – had never had any real feelings for him other than that of money. Someone to take care of her so she could drink and self-medicate without the worry of bills. His secretary, supplied to him by the bitch, soon proved to be the same, a bitch and loyal to the one who hired her instead of the one who signed her paycheck. It was evident and almost immediately that he was no longer the boss that they, the two of them, were the ones in command of his life.

He shook the thought from his head. No point living in the past. Besides, who knows what the future might bring, he smiled. It had been good to him lately.

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