Next month will be 7 years since my beautiful husband Don went to work one morning, and never came home. Life has been life. Ups and downs. Years of therapy, grief counseling, writing, healing, processing, finding my tribe, finding myself, re-creating myself, and here we are. I am okay. Some days, I am better than okay. I am filled with purpose and meaning and a new appreciation for the fragility of life that I never had before. It’s not something I run around screaming about – it just sort of exists within me, and I live my life with a subtle sense of gratitude layering everything I do.
My book has been published, finally, and is now on Amazon and out into the world. (“My Husband Is Not a Rainbow”) I have now been with my new love for just over one year, something that I still can’t believe sometimes. He loves me. I love him. Our love is so very different than the love that existed and still exists between me and Don. How could it not be?
Everyday, I find little pieces of myself. I put them where I think they might belong. Or, if they no longer fit my current life, I toss them aside, figuring they no longer serve me.
Things are going very well. I am slowly discovering what my next life will be, and things feel meaningful and hopeful and joyful.
And then ….
Just like that ……
I see something or hear something or go back to some place in my mind, and suddenly, I m missing my dead husband with a fierceness that is impossible to describe. Just like that, everything feels hopeless again, and everything feels futile. I just miss him, and I want him back. I want him to not be dead anymore and for this to all be a bad dream.
Tonight, of all things, I was watching an episode of “My 600 Pound Life”, which sometimes I watch out of habit or of my addiction to mindless television after a busy or emotional week. I have no idea why, but the sameness and routine and premise of this show lulls me into a state of comfort, and I zone out until I fall asleep. But not tonight. Tonight, it was a man losing the weight, and he and his wife or girlfriend, I can’t recall, Ashley, were losing weight together. I really liked them both for some reason. I liked their personalities and I liked the way she supported him so well emotionally. Anyway, when the man was over 600 pounds , he could barely walk, and couldn’t do much in the way of taking his woman out on dates and such. She had always wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons. Fast-forward a couple years later, (or 90 minutes into the episode) and he has now had gastric bypass surgery and skin removal surgery, and has worked hard to lose almost half his body weight. He took her on a date and surprised her with a ballroom dance lesson. As soon as the two of them started dancing and the teacher was instructing them on moves and steps, and they were looking into each others eyes and laughing and smiling – I suddenly burst into tears. Just like that.
Don hated dancing. But when we were planning our wedding in 2006, I said that I wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons with him, and learn the foxtrot for our First Dance at our wedding. So he did. We went every single week for about 8 weeks, and he took me outside our building by the Hudson River to practice our dance steps nightly. He didnt like it at all, but he patiently put time and effort into it and rehearsed with me, and smiled the whole way through, because he knew it was important to me. And in that moment on TV, watching the two of them dancing, looking into each others eyes, I longed to have that moment back again. I missed him intensely, and the crying came on like a faucet. Just like that.
I guess no matter what, we can always be transported back in time, whether or not we want to go there. Pieces of our life that happened and that are meaningful – they show up in our hearts and minds, and they make themselves known and alive. It hurts for awhile. It is emotional. It makes you long to have them back again, and it’s a pain like no other.
But it is also the evidence of great love.
I will miss him everyday, forever, because there was great Love.
What a legacy.
To be able to show up,
and transform someone’s life –
Just like that.