Death is a long radio silence….

Death is a long radio silence. My husband has been gone almost eleven years and I haven’t heard his voice over the earthly airwaves in so long. Not even in my head. Oh, I often dream of him but usually the dreams are driven by negative images. He is leaving me for another woman, ignoring me, etc. I am not sure what my psyche is up to with that one, but nevertheless they are lonely longings for him.

As for my daughter, her radio silence is the same. Death is more than absence of a body. It is also the absence of a relationship that will never happen again. No matter how many people tell you that the dead are right here with us, they cannot take us to dinner or say they love us. They cannot visit us on holidays and return to heaven.

So death is something that is silent. These days I have come home to silence in the deepest possible way. It’s as if my own death of thought is underway. As if silence is teaching me things I have always wanted to know.

Silence tells me that everything happens in its own sweet way and time. And I feel this. I feel this. I still get anxious but the silence contains it as noise never can. Noise is a product of dysfunction and silence overcomes it.

Silence holds me in a rhythmic sway, as if it knew the steps to every dance and the punchline to every joke. I am laughing more. Sitting alone on the couch appreciating the work of a skilled comedian. Laughter comes out of nowhere and I am so grateful for it.

I am typing in silence. Who am I? Verbiage is a poor substitute as an answer. Who is it that takes over when I am forced to speak with people? Silence takes a backseat to personality. That is why introverts avoid crowds. They tire of having to trot out the personal. They feel like ventriloquists putting words in the mouth of a dummy. But not getting paid.

I am arising in silence as waves arise in the ocean. I am full of barnacles and seaweed. But the moon shines on me just like it did when I had a husband and a child. Perhaps that is where I should look for them, in the silence of the heavens.

They are not looking for me. They know exactly where I am and what they want me to do for them. I don’t have to tell you what that is. They want me to return to myself and love myself. That is the only way home and they are waiting for me.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. Last week I heard my wife’s voice. I don’t know what she said but I could tell it was her voice. She often would sing in a melodious way the words not distinct but effortlessly all flowing, even when I tried to hear her individual words I could not tell if there was a structure or meaning to her song, she has done this sense I first met her. I gave up trying to interpret her songs long ago they were always carefree and happy like when I hear birds singing melodious distinctly alive. She passed 5 years ago yet somehow I heard her last week, cheerful and happy I heard her as well as I heard her before she died, a gift causing me to be thankful without knowing how or why.


  2. I have long forgotten what my son’s voice sounds like. No matter what age I draw him to my heart, the little boy or the teenage boy he was when he died, there is nothing but silence. Why is it that I don’t remember what my child’s voice sounds like? I have no recordings of his sweet voice. I rarely dream of him-but when I have, he is a little boy–but still, he doesn’t speak. It breaks my broken heart more and I feel guilty. He knows my heart because we will always be connected by heartstrings….and one day, we will be together again. Knowing this, I am able to get on with a new life created when he left.

    I love this essay, Vicki. You have a way of putting into words what I feel but haven’t the gift to write. Your words are like a soothing ointment that my heart needs from time to time. Your words often speak to my heart and soul, awakening it to what it knows–my son waits for me. Thank you and God Bless.


    1. Dearest Joyce,

      I know our heart remembers every thing, even though we no longer hear the voice. What I KNOW is that no one who has not lost a child can identify with our sorrow or our strength in going on. It takes everything we have. And some of us dig deeper than ever into the path of awakening. I know I have. Thank you for your kind words.


  3. It seems, as we age, and lose so much of the life we knew, we get to know silence and are not afraid of it anymore. Textures in nature, light and shadows, our pets fill our time. It is a different way of being and time isn’t pushing so hard! We know that the “long radio silence” is nearing. I sometimes laugh at this seeming cosmic joke…a lot to do about nothing, and yet…
    Thank you, Vicki! <3


    1. I love silence these days. The bandwidth is just right for me. Smile. I have been a perfectionist all of my life and yet now I have time to just be here with myself in a very relaxed way. I think of death daily; it is good to keep it over your left shoulder I am told. I love what someone said about no one on earth has ever been dead, so it is all speculation. I also love what Leonard Cohen says about it, that the third act ends badly. So ironically true for all of us.


  4. What happened during hearing my wife again was it was morning, as I came from a deep sleep her voice was heard in the context of a vivid dream, I didn’t see her she was on a different floor of the house, while fully awake I forget what her voice sounds like. It was in that state I heard her clearly and knew most definitely that to be her voice.


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