A story of grief by a man and a boy

odd numbers

It would appear that the calculator in my brain hasn’t adjusted to the figures that make up my new life.

Having just been on a week away with my two best men and their respective wife and girlfriend, we’ve needed to quote numbers for taxis, restaurants and when ordering beers at the bar. But the numbers never seem to add up. My friends would order five drinks from the waiter or ask for a table that couldn’t quite fit three complete couples and two kids.

Although I have no real problem with basic maths, it’s like my mental abacus is missing a counter. Becoming an odd number so suddenly just doesn’t seem to add up.

And I think what makes it really hard is that it’s an equation that I wasn’t able to learn before the exam.

It’s like I missed the class on this basic mental arithmetic. Our two became one without me even picking up my pen. Previous life lessons of going from double to single haven’t taught me anything that I can apply to this test. My life has become divided – the even part is in the past and I’m left living the odd. I don’t feel equal anymore. My happiness has been subtracted and the pain just keeps multiplying. My plus one has gone and I can’t sum myself up.

Perhaps maths is not my strong point or maybe it just has no place in grief. It’s a subject that only has definitive answers and no room for judgement nor error.

So perhaps I’ll concentrate on philosophy instead.

How can the mind comes to terms with a relationship ending without having called the shots or agreed the terms?

How can a marriage just stop so abruptly without a break-up or a breakdown?

How can I find any comfort in a pointless death, which followed no pain?

And how can I count my blessings if I’ve just calculated that mathematics is a study lost on loss?

9 comments on “odd numbers

  1. Lucille
    February 9, 2013

    Ben, you count your sorrows and silver linings as some of your greatest blessings.

  2. Ryan Doubleday
    February 9, 2013

    Wow, really wish we had those answers, probably never will, but it brings me comfort to know that others are asking too

  3. mrsb33
    February 9, 2013

    I wish I had the answers for you, I really do. But your bravery, truth, eloquence and honesty inspires me daily. Thank you for this.

  4. Pi+3
    February 9, 2013

    The answer (I believe) is there are no answers. We must just accept the questions will never be answered and as appropriate, try to get on with life doing what was taken away from our loved ones and live life to the full / for both of us… When we accept that we’ll never have the answer, the questions will become less relevant and that’ll be our answer.

  5. Sarah
    February 9, 2013

    Sums it all up very accurately… I was never good at maths either and my missing half makes every day feel like somethings just not adding up, bless you Ben, putting your feelings into words is expressing grief in a way I’ve never been able to but i imagine it must be cathartic. X

  6. Avril Lamb
    February 9, 2013

    How you describe all the different angles of this pain and loss is helping the rest of us who have experienced it, or who are experiencing it. It brings the pain to the surface in an exquisitely painful, but cathartic way. Thank you.

  7. Paul R
    February 9, 2013

    After 28 years of marriage a lot of my conversations with others included “we.” Now after talking with someone new I will often get a question about where my wife is or if she is on a trip or when they can meet her.

    As to the restaurant thing. I frequently get asked if I’m meeting someone or if someone is meeting me or the raised eyebrow with a “just one?”

    In many respects our society is built around pairs.

  8. Caley berry
    February 9, 2013

    You’re not an odd number – you and Jackson makes two. And he’s a walking, talking 50% of Desreen so you will always have part of her with you x

  9. Pingback: Weekend Edition: February 10, 2013 -

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