When I write to you, I always want to focus on you and on us and on the rarity of relationship that we were blessed to share. This letter, I think, will focus on me. I need to tell you what I am thinking and what I am realizing now that I am forced to navigate this world without you. Again, I will probably be accused of “wallowing in grief sorrow and self-pity” as a family member once so cruelly accused me of soon after your death. I prefer to recognize it for what it is; grief. I image from the outside, detached, judgmental people it may in fact look like wallowing. For me, that just comes off as cold. But what I have learned about grief is that it has a life of it’s own. It surrounds you without warning and takes complete control of your being without permission. It becomes your thoughts and your moods and your anticipation and your fear. It takes shape as an invisible gossamer fabric wrapping around you. You are trapped inside of it and it colors every moment of your new life. Any thought or action you might take is now filtered through this veil of grief and sadness before it gets to the outside world. Each joyful moment is tinged with the color of grief and the momentary experience of joy does not now nor will ever again feel the same. Grief becomes the vehicle you are forced to ride in, and you do not get a choice. It has power over you and you just have to ride until the ride is over.
One thing that your absence affords me sadly, is time to think. Too much time to think. I notice the smallest nuances and attached irony and symbolism to every moment. The rebirth of nature with the arrival of spring coincided with your spiritual rebirth in Heaven. Your timely dreams come to me exactly when I need them. The cardinals and the butterflies visit me often. You touch my shoulder at night. And then I think.
Lately, the loneliness of life without you has enveloped me. Of course, I have been lonely for the last 13 months without you, but I think the difference now is the realization of the permanence of it. I now have habits and rituals that have been formed without you. I no longer wait for you to get into the passenger seat. I now just leave without you. I no longer pick up enough food at the grocery for two people. Rather, now I look at the pre packaged meat and realize how many meals it will take for me to go through this much food. I am no longer shocked that your car is not next to mine in the garage or depend on your feedback from some idea I need to pass by you at work. I now automatically sign all of our gifts and cards to the children “Love, Nana and Boo Boo from Heaven” and they smile when they read it. I cry when I write it. I am now alone and now I am also very lonely.
It is difficult to make my way through this world as a single after being with you so many years. It is a most uncomfortable way for me to be in this world. As uncomfortable and as unwanted as it is, I find myself alone and lonely even in a huge crowd of people. It is either my inability to connect or, frankly, my lack of desire to connect that I am creating loneliness even in a situation where I could connect with people. I am both fearing as well as creating the isolation and, sadly, I am well aware of it. It is just such a strange place for me that I feel awkward walking through it. It was so easy to do it with comfort and grace while you were next to me holding my hand. Now. I just want to bolt because as painful as the isolation is, it is far less painful than knowing that I have to face the world alone and without you.
It is just recently that the reality of what my future may look like has hit me like a brick to my face. I have been going through the motions powered by emotion for the past year. The grief has programed my life without asking for input. But now in the lonely hours, I get to think. And I think…
On the night you died, and you took your last breath, indeed it all changed for you. Your pain was gone. Your nightmare was over. I believe you entered Heaven and began your dance of eternal freedom and happiness. I know you did not want to leave me. I do not blame you. But as the time has gone by and I have had time to think, I have far too much time to examine my life as it is now. My painful realization is that the moment that you took your last breath was the last moment in my life that I would experience the love that you had for me. I will never again be cherished like you cherished me. There will never be a moment ever again for me to soak up and savor the love that you offered me. When you died, that went with you and, oh my love, I miss that. My soul is broken.
So maybe in this letter I am wallowing in grief, sorrow and self-pity. The grief train is still in full possession of me and I do not think that I am anywhere near getting off. The loneliness of my life without you has become my reality. There is no fix for this. It is what it is, as you would so bluntly say. It is what it is, my love, and I hate it.