I’ve been doing great. My mood even. Fulfilled. Happy, even. Busy. Always busy. In hindsight, I suppose that’s my coping mechanism. Fill me up with so much stuff that I don’t have room or time for the sadness. No time to think about it.
And then I came home in between errands. Plucked the mail out of the mailbox and spread it out on the kitchen table. And there it was. An Allen Edmonds shoe catalog addressed to my husband. His favorite shoes. He always had good taste.
I let my eyes linger on his name. I remembered the Allen Edmonds shoes I had to get rid of a few months ago when clearing out his stuff. His beloved shoes.
I felt it. That twinge of sadness. The kind of twinge that turns into an ache. The kind of ache that takes your breath away, but not in the good kind of way. The sad way.
I said hello to it. I let it seep into my bones. I let myself feel it. That space. The emptiness one feels when they have lost someone they love and know they will never see them again. That feeling you have when flashbacks of finding your husband taking his last breaths on the floor flash through your mind and your remember his body is ashes stored in a niche in a cemetery with all the other dead people. The feeling you have when you remember children have lost their father. That precious, devoted father who would have done anything for them. The man who told you how beautiful he thought you were. The one who said you were the smartest person he ever met. The one who drove you crazy but also the one you loved because you knew the authentic version of him in ways nobody else did.
The hollowness. How can it be so quiet amidst the chaos of this life?
I felt it. I told the feeling that it had to pass. I couldn’t hold on to it. Holding on hurts even more. I had to let it go. I have to let him go. He is here but he is not here.
I resumed being busy. Other things took my mind off of the sadness and I was whole again. The sadness tucked away in a drawer somewhere in my heart. A drawer I don’t want to look at. A drawer I only open when I am alone in the quiet moments of the evening or sometimes first thing in the morning.
The wave passed over me. All is calm again. But I know it will return. Each time it comes I am stronger and stronger. I am more capable of handling my feelings. I’m getting used to it. Is that weird? That I’m used to pain and fear and stress and sadness and overwhelming grief.
I didn’t sign up for this, and yet it is part of me.
Grief is woven into every cell of my being. It makes me stronger. Sadder. Happier. Tougher. More optimistic and pessimistic all wrapped into one.
It’s life-changing. I want to be this new person but with my husband at my side.
But life doesn’t work that way.
So I keep moving forward. There will be new things in my life. New things I can’t even conceptualize right now but I know they are there. And I will be ready.