I won’t lie, I’ve cried quite a lot the past few days. It may just be that time of the month making me extra emotional… but it’s also a lot more. It will be my anniversary in a few days… eight years ago next week is when I went on my first date with Drew. The following week, just seven days later, will be the 5th anniversary of his death.
It’s hard to imagine he has been gone 5 years, but surprisingly, this fact isn’t the one getting to me. Perhaps because I spent the first few months of this year already processing the “5 year mark” being here, I almost feel as if that has already passed. The one that is getting me though, is the other milestone.
We would have been together for 8 years now. Instead, we only got three. THREE. And I know, no time is ever enough. Not three, or ten, or fifty. But I do feel like there is a specific kind of heartbreak for young couples that had so very much unfinished life to live. We hadn’t even moved in together yet, much less gotten married or started a family. And so much of that was slated to unfold in that very year when he died. So much was already in the plans to be happening. It will haunt me forever, the unfinished stuff, I know that. And I know it’s normal for it to be worse as I get closer to this day. It just sucks I guess, there’s not much else to say there.
I would have given the world to have had 8 years shared with my best friend. To have had the privilege of getting to see him grow into the confident, professional pilot that he was just becoming. To have even had to miss more anniversaries together – as we missed having our last one together because he was halfway across the country on a flying contract – just to hear more of his joy about flying. It was infectious, and it made me want to do something I loved too – even though back then I didn’t love anything the way he loved flying really.
I think this year, it’s even harder to imagine never getting to year eight together than it is to imagine that he has been gone for five entire years. I don’t know why. I suppose because I was so focused on hitting that five year mark that maybe I didn’t stop to think about the other milestone nearly as much this year. Either way, it’s taking the breath out of me for certain this week. It’s making me think of all the different places we would have been by now. Different cities and states we would have lived in. Would we have adopted kids like we talked about? All the things we missed out on sharing together just well up around this time of year.
It’s sometimes so strange to have all those feelings while also being in a new life and a new relationship. It feels like being two people at once, or having two parallel lives in your heart. Sometimes it all feels a bit overwhelming – trying to process the grief from a life that was taken too early in the midst of living a new life. Mike is wonderful about these things, I needn’t really say much of anything and he knows what’s up and hugs me tight while I have a good cry. It is a beautiful gift in this new life to have someone who can be there for you like that. Who even understands if you just need some alone time or some quiet time to yourself.
It’s very hard for me to be around Shelby though when I am going through emotional stuff. I am very private about my emotions in general, and I often prefer to be alone with them than to be around anyone really. Well, I can’t exactly just hide away in the bedroom and cry all day with a kid. I have to get up and be a functional person, and that expectation is definitely not something I am used to when grieving. I’m used to being able to take my time to grieve whenever I need to take it. I’m doing my best to put on a good mood for her, but the past few days it has been hard… when all I want to do is be able to just disappear from the world a little bit and feel through my own stuff. It’s hard sometimes balancing grief with a new life.
Still, I’m grateful to have some comfort in Mike and in all of my friends and family as this next two weeks approaches, as I’m sure it’s going to be a bit of a rough ride, but I know with all of them I’ll make it through just fine.