Clare Saumell VanderWeele

word wrangler.

Category: Death

On Empty Milk Cartons and Gum Wrappers

Chris used to put almost empty milk cartons back in the fridge.

And when I say “almost” I mean there was literally one gulp left.

He’d eat almost all his dinner except two bites and put the almost empty plate uncovered in the fridge… On the off chance that one lonely bite of cold, congealed dinner would sound appetizing later.

He would leave empty tupperware containers in his car after work. Empty gum wrappers littered the bedroom floor as they came flying out his pockets, and empty Marlboro Reds packages would stack up on his night stand.

All the empty drove me nuts.

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On Death and Diets

For Lent this year, I gave up diets.

Yeah, I know. That sounds less like sacrifice and more like indulgence.

But here’s the thing: I was secretly obsessed with diets, bouncing on and off various forms of them for at least the last decade. For weeks at a time, I would restrict whole food groups, all under the guise of “healthy eating.”

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The Day Death Ripped My World Apart

There’s something deeply human about imagining worst case scenarios. We like to think we know how we’d react to hearing horrifying news. From Hollywood to the Hallmark Channel, we see movies of people screaming, fainting, punching walls, or wailing.

But when three policemen knocked on my door on an October Friday morning and uttered the words that would ring in my ears for the rest of my life, I didn’t – couldn’t – say a word.

Words are not possible when you discover your lungs have morphed into cinder blocks; when the bitter truth ruptures your chest, searing through your abdomen and down to your toes.

I still have no clue how I didn’t drop my 18 month old son in my arms.

His father, my husband was dead.

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