The Lack of Repose

As of very early this morning, it has been one month since my wife died.

These have been by far the hardest thirty days of my life, much worse than the time after the death of my father (which was very hard). I don’t know what the experience of divorce is like, since I’ve only been married once. Maybe it’s as bad as this. And I don’t know what it’s like to lose a spouse about whom one had been ambivalent — I had never been ambivalent about Dymphna. All I know is the depth of how much I miss her.

My goal is to keep this site running in more or less its accustomed form. To some extent the American side of the news will be lacking — Dymphna and I divided our functions more than a decade ago: I specialized in European affairs, and she specialized in the USA. I’ll be looking at American issues in attempt to make up for the lack of my better half, but I won’t be able to watch the number of videos she watched. For the last few years of her life she absorbed her information mostly through videos, since she could watch those on her little tablet while sitting up in bed.

[To see a chilling video that Dymphna would almost certainly have posted if she were around, check out this excerpt from Tucker Carlson’s program (hat tip JLH), which features an interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).]

The main problem for me right now is that I don’t really want to do anything. I feel an obligation to keep Gates of Vienna going, obviously, and I know that going to work every day — which is effectively what this is — will eventually enable me to pass through the worst of my grief. The landscape around me looks bleak and uninviting, but I expect that to change gradually as I maintain my routine over the next few months.

Writing about my misery from time to time will probably also be helpful. Putting these things down in words makes me think about them carefully, and thus gain a better understanding of what’s happening.

In a different context Wallace Stevens wrote (in “The Lack of Repose”):

And not yet to have written a book in which
One is already a grandfather and to have put there
A few sounds of meaning, a momentary end
To the complication, is good, is a good.

There’ll be no book from all of this, just a series of occasional jottings.

They say you can get used to anything. Over the past six years I’ve gotten used to the occasional injections that I have to receive in my left eye to prevent a recurrence of wet macular degeneration. It’s a horrible experience, but I got used to it.

I had one of those injections this afternoon, the first one since Dymphna died. That’s why I’m not doing much this evening.

But I don’t know if I can get used to the absence of my wife. I’ll just have to wait and see.

47 thoughts on “The Lack of Repose

  1. It must be hell. After all, most of us miss Dymphna. We can only imagine what you’re going through. But you were lucky. Very, very lucky.

  2. Dear Baron- Please know that you have many, many supporters out here who understand your grief and who are praying for you. The inestimable Dynphna was irreplaceable and her loss was literally felt world wide because of the incredible work that she did.

    As far as GoV, do the best that you can and keep letting us know how you’re doing. I have never met you but I feel like you are a member of my family. The work you do is of the utmost importance in these troubled times and our side needs you. Never give up and neither will we.

    Best regards always.

  3. Very sorry for your loss. My words will not do anything to change your situation, however please know you and your wife have helped illuminate truth/important news to many of us for quite a long time. I hope you continue your efforts.

    Once again, sorry for your profound loss and know you and she are in out thoughts and prayers.

  4. Mourning is a process, but you are right to keep up with your work. Man needs to work even in the best of times or his psyche will deteriorate. In sad times, doing meaningful work is vital, and your European coverage is enlightening. US coverage is always relevant to me as I am American, but there aren’t many non-globalist news sources for European current events. So thank you for your work, Baron. You are doing worthwhile work here.

  5. I will look forward to meeting both you and Dymphna when the last trumpet sounds and the Lord says, “Come up here!” And you can meet the rest of me as well, even though we have only been together for only one-half the time that you and Dymphna were together on this planet. We will have an eternity to enjoy it in, so take heart, we’re with you , the lot of us, as mates by your side.

  6. Dear Baron: Know that a lot of us have you in our thoughts and prayers.

    What you’re doing is extremely important. This site is a key part of the “truth web”.

  7. The crash will come eventually. Nobody can soldier on like this forever and function like a machine. If there ever is a hunch that you feel inadequate about not being able to do the impossible on top of the grief you already suffer, please, for heaven’s sake, take this as a sign to pull the brakes. You’re doing so much and there are no words to express how important it is and how much appreciated. But don’t ever let a sense of being chained by your readers’ expectations be a driving force, even if on the surface it may seem like somehow helpful at first. It would suck out whatever energy you have left. Wish you all the best and thank you so much.

    • Thank you for being so solicitous. At the moment, continuing this work is what keeps me from descending into full despondency.

      I can’t maintain my former level — I’m too distracted all the time for that — but I need to keep going.

  8. Baron, you graciously replied to my email today and that (more private and personal) message said what was needed.

    I’ll not irk everyone by leaving that dangling in midair so—suffice to say that in the context of this thread—I now realize how agonizing it must have been to put up those malodorous comments over this past day or so. In retrospect, the incredibly perverse timing of them only trebles their offensiveness.

    Despite being ignorant at that time, even my colossal ego went mute at having to witness your imperturbable calm under fire. And in the midst of desperately trying not to feed the troll, remaining silent only made that travesty into a deeper, more lacerating hell. With that said:

    If ever you feel alone, please know that you are not.

    For any reason, if you don’t already have my telephone number (it will be enclosed in a subsequent email) that shall be remedied forthwith. If only for the sake of hearing another human voice: Please never hesitate to CALL COLLECT at any time of day or night. Full stop.

    Having watched your videos—to me you seem more familiar than might otherwise be the case—perhaps this is overly forward but to hell with that stoic crap anyway. You know how I’ve flown through turbulence that’s unfit to air at this space. Suffice to say that I’ve soloed in places where God was on extended vacation. All so that you won’t have to.

    Any time,

    NorseRadish

  9. Dear Baron:
    You are very important to me. Please keep up doing the good work! We need you.
    May your beloved Dymphna be with God,
    Your opinions are important for all of us, wherever in the world we live! God help you!

  10. Dear Baron,

    My sincere condolences as I’ve been reading, commenting and occasionally contributing to this site since it was hosted by blogspot, 15-16 (?) years ago and could discern a magnificent human union between yourself and Dymphna. You have been a very fortunate man: I know, as in distinct contrast to yourself, I married extremely badly, but stayed under extreme duress for ten years only due to children. The divorce consumed 5 years of my life, depleted me of all my wealth and destroyed my professional practice.

    Please keep the site going, it is an irreplaceable source of relevant international news and rarely do I not visit it at least every second day. Dymphna and yourself created something extremely precious with this site, I’m confident that your continuation of this site will ameliorate your grief to some extent – it will give you purpose beyond being a father.

    Yours in shared sorrow.

  11. “But I don’t know if I can get used to the absence of my wife.” Yeah, depends what “get used to” means doesn’t it? You can get used to losing an arm, but you never get over the loss. Eventually the pain becomes bearable.

    I don’t know brother, I’m no use here, one just has to go through the valley of weeping. There’s no other option. One thing though is that the “Man of sorrows” feels exactly the same grief.

    There’s a lot of us around the world whose hearts really go out to you and pray for you. That’s about all I can contribute. We admire you, we feel for you…Work when you can, go for walks and talk to her & to God, weep it out when you feel like it.

    What would your sweetie suggest if she were here? I smile when I think of what mine would say: “snap out of it and get on with the Good work dummy”, easy for her to say 🙂

      • How cute!
        We have a completely different situation. My husband is a bloody male chauvinist, shouting to me: Lena !!! Finally, stop your Internet wars! We have no food at home and slippers stick to the floor.

  12. Baron, My wife has Stage 4 cancer. Every day I struggle to keep moving forward through the grief. Sorrow is a terrible weight to carry, try to put it down as often as possible and pray without ceasing.

    • RM, I’m so sorry to learn of this. Three people I loved have died this year (including Dymphna and my oldest friend), plus my partner’s brother, and my sister has terminal cancer, but as with the Baron’s loss, your situation is especially distressing. My deepest sympathies to you.

  13. It is hard to adjust to the well known home without the familiar beloved presence. There will always be a void, but the aching will gradually dwindle. Dymphna the Brave was well loved by her many fans, who greatly appreciate her work.
    Be strong. Be resolute, for her sake. The work is so important. Its continuation is a memorial to her.
    My extended condolences.

  14. For what it’s worth, about once a week, I end over here at the ‘Gates’ and take notice of worldly affairs and decent (balanced) observations. It’s a worthwhile site, and a lot of us have appreciation of the efforts taken.

  15. I would miss my daily visits to Gates of Vienna, but you must take care of yourself first of all. We would all understand a hiatus, and while we would welcome your return, we would understand your retirement from the daily grind. You and your sainted wife have already done many times your share to preserve our civilization.

    • Thank you, Matt. See what I said above to another commenter — I need this work to keep from disappearing in a miasma of grief.

  16. One thing that got my husband through chemo treatments is they he went to work every day. Made him feel that something in his life was normal, hope going to work helps you as well. I think that it will take time to heal but I’m sure you will…you have a lot of people praying for you! God bless you and keep you in His care.

  17. As one who lost my dear wife a few years ago I knew what you are going through. If it’s any comfort I believe that time is not linear as it appears to our little minds. In some sense that we cannot understand we will be with our dear ones again. Carry on with the work she would want you to do.

  18. It’s hard to find the words to reply to you, Baron, and I’m sure you’ve heard all the usual condolences and advice. Although all our comments to you are heartfelt, I’d guess that they barely penetrate the depth of your sorrow.

    You have immense courage to express such personal thoughts to all of us—even framing the sentences must give pain. I can’t think of anything to say except that time does help. Not that memories fade; indeed sometimes they become more intense, but our mental pictures slowly change to focus on the good that was, and less on the pain of the present.

    Please consider getting some other contributors, as you already do sometimes, to lessen your load. They could cover certain niche areas that you haven’t time to address. I know that work can be therapeutic, but the job you do is of vast dimensions. Don’t feel you must carry GoV all alone.

  19. Baron,

    You are so good at what you do. Take a little solace in that. If you need to scream into the wind, do so. I imagine you may have already. Ask G-d why? Ask Him why you should go on? He knows, and you do too. If a break is needed, take a break. It’s the constancy in your work that is important. So despair when you have to, but then roar like a Lion that Dymphna and we know you are. You’ll get over those bad bad moments for Dymphna who doesn’t want you to suffer. And you’ll do it for her…….she is watching out for you. One day in the future when your work is done you’ll see her and she’ll be very proud of you.
    I feel stupid saying such simple 6th grade things. But somehow it seems right. G-d bless!

  20. Moonlight and Roses by Jim Reeves

    Moonlight and roses
    Bring wonderful memories of you
    My heart reposes
    In beautiful thoughts so true.

    June light discloses
    Love’s golden dreams sparkling, anew
    Moonlight and roses
    Bring memories of you.

    June light discloses
    Love’s golden dreams sparkling, anew
    Moonlight and roses
    Bring memories of you…

  21. We look forward to your next article, Baron, and the GoV wouldn’t be true without your presence. Dymphna’s touch is missed on these pages.

    You know yourself best – that routine is a positive, especially now. Regular meals, and a daily walk in the fresh air for physical exertion and to raise the endorphins. Even a little is a lot.

    God bless you, and may friends help to lift the load.

  22. Baron,

    As one who has been married to the love of his life for nearly thirty wonderful years, I cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak you must be suffering. You must be a very strong man, because I don’t know that I could bear up under the loss of my beloved as well as you have. Please accept my sincere condolences and wish that the good memories of your time with your late wife will provide you some measure of comfort during this terrible time.

    • Thank you. I’m not really bearing up, though — just kind of stumbling around blindly in a fog. It takes me about six times as long to do a routine task as it used to.

  23. I do not really know what to say, when one is in a mist.
    Our measure of “Time” changes. I believe it goes into another dimension.

    I recall my mother used to say, “cut your cloth accordingly”.
    Yet I know she always did everything she could, in small ways, that often surprised me, even though she relinquished many things, and adapted to still make the most of life, even through some big changes, as she advanced into her final year aged 95.

    I have learnt that 7th day is to be more restful, a different purpose, that is to fit “the cut of the cloth”.
    A daily walk, just to be, fresh air, different view, oxygen into the blood; mindless, purposeful, just however one wants to take it.

    Appreciate your writings, and will continue to read you, as I find you.

  24. Hello,
    I hope you find comfort in this quote from Viktor Frankl :

    “Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now, how can I help him? What should I tell him? Well, I refrained from telling him anything but instead confronted him with the question, ‘What would have happened, doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!’ Whereupon I replied, ‘You see, doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it was you who have spared her this suffering — to be sure, at the price that now you have to survive and mourn her.’ He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left my office. In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

    • Yes, I agree with you.

      She was ten years older than I, and suffered from severe illnesses. I promised that I would outlive her, so that I could take care of her and spare her the tender ministrations of Medicare-funded nursing homes.

      I kept my promise. She only had to spend the last six hours in the hospital, and that in the emergency room. The rest of the time she had been at home, and active insofar as that was possible. Two days before she died, she worked in her flower beds and then cooked dinner for both of us. I will treasure those moments.

      Now that I have done my duty as fully as I can manage, I just have to live with the bleakness for a while.

      Now sky-sweep and earth rub like freezing hands
      And shrink from the pinch and forethought of snowing
      As the wind settles in with its grey blight.

      And winter comes with tree bones bleakened white.
      This broad land with its low scrub,
      These sad chickens, and all our proud sweat
      Live the same cycle and spin the same wheel
      Through light and water, and in the end each must deal
      With complete absence. But it is now my hub,
      And now this one tree’s absence which I feel.

  25. I will keep Dympha and you in my prayers.
    I cannot fully express how much I appreciate the work that you and your wife have committed yourselves to. It is so rare to find a refuge where truthful dialogues can be found and where the lies and polemics of the media and elites are avoided.
    Sincerely, Michael Jones

  26. Baron,

    I completely agree with you that Dymphna would have been horrified at the Matt Gaetz interview. To summarize, the interview video played a recording clearly threatening Matt Gaetz and his family with death, over the phone. It was a federal crime; there were no weasel words: it was a clear, direct, present tense threat. The federal attorney in California simply refused to prosecute the call, even though they knew exactly who the caller was, and had a recording of the call.

    It was this interview, in fact that prompted me to state there is an active conspiracy of street violence planned for the 2020 elections that includes the installation of state and federal attorneys and agencies who will not only decline to prosecute violent street thugs attacking innocent conservatives, but will actively prosecute any individuals or groups who seek to fight back.

    The implication is clear: Trump and Attorney General Barr have less than a year to organize the federal justice system to impartially enforce justice and security. Trump has been praised as a 3-D chess player, and perhaps he is. But George Soros is no mean 3-D player himself. He is not only funding violent street gangs in the image of the Nazi SA, but is ensuring the legal system not only immunizes, but protects the street thugs of Antifa.

    Dymphna, though her keen focus on the events in Charlottesville and the national and international parallels to the use of government-sponsored violence for political purposes, provided a view and insight which does not guarantee victory, but which certainly is what would make it possible. Dympthna fought for the country and the people to the end.

    I totally agree with Matt Bracken. If you serve yourself by remaining in the saddle, do so. If you need a hiatus or change, do so. The warning has been given. We know what is taking place. The critical time is here, but you and Dymphna have sounded the alarm.

    It is a huge benefit you were able to take care of Dymphna to the end. My sister had a stroke and is in a nursing home. I’m the one administering her affairs and continually following up on her care and treatment. Once I’m gone, it will have to be done by a professional estate management company. Knock on wood I remain healthy and cognizant.

    And last but not least: thank you for your devotion to the site, to the readers and to Dymphna, who was so much a part of our world and our fight to save it.

    • Thank you, RonaldB.

      Another one she would be covering is the sham marriage of Ilhan Omar to her brother. I’m working on that.

  27. Baron, i would be very sad if your blog closed. I come here regularly, it’s very special in its information, and civility. Take it slow, but ask yourself what would your wife want?

    • Gates of Vienna is not going to close! If I don’t keep it open, I will descend into a slough of despond from which I will never emerge.

  28. So sorry for your loss Baron. My late father always said “getting old isn’t for sissies.” All we can do is carry on in homage to those who have gone before and those whom we shall leave behind. Suffering numerous age related maladies which come and go as they please, but of course never at the “right time,” I get what Warren Zevon meant in his song “My Sh.. Is ..cked Up.” It wasn’t supposed to be this way for us – we hoped.

  29. Thank you for your tireless work on our behalf. GoV is fantastic, informative and daily part of my day.
    Take care of yourself.
    Praying.
    Thanking.

    meg from the land of o

  30. Dear Baron – thank you for sharing these personal thoughts.

    Over the years I have been aware of your magnificent website whether or not I was actively commenting. It was reassuring to know it was there, staking out vitally important ground. It was an inspiration to me given the obvious care and thought that went into its creation and maintenance. I would go so far as to say that it has been instrumental in helping to steer me back to a political outlook that frankly I had lost touch with in years past.

    I can relate to your comments about your spouse and the impact of her passing. A few weeks prior my wife was the victim of a major stroke that literally hit her out of the blue. What followed were days of trauma and uncertainty… not knowing whether she would pull through. She is back home now and making a slow and steady recovery but it brought home how all we take for granted can suddenly be taken and that none of it comes with any guarantee.

    We both wish you the very best during this trying period.

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