Behind Locked Doors

Since the death of your loved one, it is normal to be forgetful and unable to sleep. It is easy to lose things and not so easy to find them. Ginger Ingram shares stories of the humor we can find in our grief if we will laugh at ourselves during those crazy momemts in our grief where nothing and everything seems relevant to just moving forward.

by Ginger Ingram Brown

Many people, while grieving, find that sleep is something they did before their loved one was gone. Personally, after my husband’s death, I felt like I might never sleep through the night again.

Guests were sound asleep in my home months after the funeral, but it was another night my eyes just refused to stay closed. After a few hours in bed I was awake, tossing and turning. “If I get up, I’ll disturb my guests,” I reasoned, so I tried to stay in bed. Finally, I could not stay there a moment longer. I got up, quietly slipped down the hall into the office and closed the door so any noise would not fill the house.

Going right to work, I found the time passed quickly and, seeing it was after 5 a.m., I realized I needed a robe before others started arousing. Quietly I began twisting the doorknob only to find, to my horror, that it would not open.

Not wanting to disturb any one’s sleep, I sat down to plan my escape strategy. I could not climb out of the window because I was in short pajamas and the outside doors would be locked. Besides, it was too far to the ground and I am not athletic enough to take that kind of leap. Maybe I could pry the lock with scissors. Duh, never!

Fred and Helen! They were next door, would be getting up by six o’clock and they had a key! I waited.

After the longest 30 minutes of my life I called and heard a friendly, “Good morning!”

“Helen, I’m locked in the office. Will you ask Fred to come and remove the doorknob? And Helen, will you come and grab my robe so we won’t be embarrassed?” In moments they arrived with their tools, quietly working so that my guests could continue getting their rest.

Weeks later, I was introduced to another widow and was telling this story. Laughing with me, she said, “Oh, I had a terrible experience with a locked door. The bathroom door got locked and my curling iron was on and I was concerned about a fire. The door had a history of being accidentally locked and I had always depended on my husband to get it unlocked. I looked and looked for the key, unsuccessfully! Finally, in desperation, it seemed logical to ask someone where they thought he might have kept the key. Not wanting to bother neighbors or friends, I called 911 explaining my dilemma."

'My husband said the key was in a logical place that was easy to reach in emergency, but I can’t think where it is,' I confided.

'Please stay on the line and we’ll have someone right there.'

'No, you don’t need to come. I’m just needing advice.'

'Don’t hang up. We will have you fixed up in no time.'

'Please don’t send anyone out. This isn’t an emergency.'"

Laughing as she continued with her story, my new widow friend said, “After a few moments of arguing I heard a siren, saw lights flashing outside my home, and two burly firemen coming to my door. They walked in, reached up on top of the bathroom door trim and retrieved the key to the door.”

“That’s where we keep ours!” I laughed.

“When in grief, be careful who you call about locked doors!” she advised.

That night, she could go to sleep knowing her bathroom was unlocked, her curling iron was turned off and where the key was kept. And I could sleep, thankful for my neighbors who came without flashing lights and a siren.


Ginger Ingram Brown would like to hear your stories. Please send them to her at P.O. Box 4168, Wichita Falls, Texas 76308

Document Actions