Two By Two

Dear Larry:

Looks like Noah got it right.  Upon God’s request, he loaded up the arc with two of each animal on earth.  He found one male and one female to put on the arc in order to save the species from the great flood that was yet to come.  Two.  One each.  Male.  Female.  This is the way of the world.  This is how it was meant to be.  Two by two.  Couples.

You made me promise that I would continue to do the things that we loved to do together.  I have done that although often I have had to force myself.   Going out of the comfort zone of our home is so awkward for me.  My life was accustomed to being on your arm and the depth of our experiences was defined by having new adventures together.  You were my protector and when you were with me, it just felt right. 

Now, I feel vulnerable and exposed.  Putting myself in pubic situations is uncomfortable and unnatural.  I hate the word widow because it so closely describes how singular I feel, and it shakes my foundation to the core.  It is not just a word; it is a way that I now have to be in the world around me.    This is the existence that I never wanted and pray every day to have our old life back. 

So, I ventured out under the protection of great friends and metaphorically got onto the arc.  The room is for two.  This bed is too big for only me.  The dinner table is set for 6 except that the chair next to me is always empty.  Couples and me.  You are missing and that chair stands as a reminder to me every night that you are not coming back to fill it.

Yesterday we ventured out.  Everyone got on the bus to take us to our new experience.  Couples.  Men and Women.  Mothers and sons.  Best friend and best friend.  And me.  The bus driver counts to see how many passengers he will be responsible for.  47.  And odd number.  “Who is the odd one? he asks.  “It’s me”, I respond.  “We will have to warn everyone” he said in an attempt to say something humorous. It stuck me like a knife in my gut.  Oh please, God, please help me to not burst into tears.    I already know that you are not here.  I know that I am alone.  Now an entire bus load of people also know that I am alone.  Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  Hold it together. 

We reach our destination and he asks again, “Who is my odd one?” and again I am forced to declare that I am the one.   I am the odd man out.  I am the one out of sync with nature and the way things are intended to be.  Just walk.  Just breathe.  Distract yourself and this soon will pass.

When asked the third time by the coordinator at our destination about who was the odd one, I simply did not respond.  I have already claimed this twice and was not going to do it again.  I have now had to claim this distinction for 15 months and I am unwilling to say to out loud one more time.

You and I did not anticipate this.  We planned to grow old together and share experiences all over the world together.  Neither of us accepted the possibility that one of us would have to take this journey alone.  I know that I did not and feel ill equipped to handle it.  The song of this life is off key.  I march on my left foot while the rest of the people are on their right.   Everything is out of sync because you are gone.  Me without you is something I did not want and never asked for. I was given no choice and neither were you.

Know, my love, that I am doing the best that I know how to carry this off with the dignity of our relationship and marriage in mind.  Sometimes I actually pull it off, but inside I know I am hanging by a thread.

I miss you so much.  Your absence is blaring.

Your wife,