Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

The grieving one: on the death of a spouse

Paul Rousseau
Charleston, South Carolina, United States


“A real experience of death isolates one absolutely. The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved.”
– Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, 1971


‘Alone’ holds the word ‘one.’

Elderly man sitting alone in park
Photo by Javier Ocampo Zuluaga on Pixabay.

After the death of a spouse, we are al(one).


One pillow on the bed.

One imprint on the sheet.

One towel in the shower.

One toothbrush by the sink.

One face in the mirror.

One person, grieving.

One person, widowed.

One person, alone.



PAUL ROUSSEAU (he/his/him) is a semi-retired physician, writer, lover of dogs, and occasional photographer published in sundry literary and medical journals. Nominated for The Best Small Fictions anthology from Sonder Press, 2020. Twitter: @ScribbledCoffee


Summer 2022  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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