The night that changed everything — is still with me. No matter how I wish I could erase it, it’s part of me now. Less immediate, less traumatically intense these days; sometimes even in hiding but never too far away. As much as I want to securely seal every terrible moment behind bulletproof doors, I somehow also call them out.
Why? It certainly seems a bit masochistic not to work harder to erase what’s so devastating, right? Maybe I do it for the same reason we peel back a bandaid from a wound, telling ourselves we’ll just take a peek to see how it’s progressing. Right. We know that each time we peel it, pick at it, irritate it, it hurts all over again until a proper scar is permanent evidence of what happened.
Do I think that if I lose the throbbing pain of that night that I’d actually lose the vibrancy, the essence of the man himself? That I will not pay proper loving tribute to the history, the journey, or the ending of it all? Or could I really imagine that if the pictures in my head of his very last earthly night leave me —that he will too? That certainly sounds more than a little crazy, and I’m thinking a bit bizarre because even I know he gone.
It’s just too impossibly hard to say good-bye…for good.
Maybe some (or a lot of) survivor’s guilt has taken up residence. Well, I AM the only one still enjoying grandchildren, the friends that warmed our lives and the deer that are finally not eating the hostas. The world has ended for him yet life goes on for me. Makes perfect absurd sense then to feel guilt that I am the other half left with the whole of all we loved and shared, right? Okay, it’s not. Yet, calling up the pain somehow tempers whatever baby steps I make on the path to living without him.
Thinking of all the what-if’s, scrutinizing his pictures as if a magic message will appear – none of it makes sense. But then what does? Grief does not come with an instruction book. You open the door, fall down the elevator shaft and then climb, one shaky step, one double-sided memory at a time, to a place where you can breathe again.
I’m still climbing — but I am breathing. I’m good.
Where are you?