I saw him. Seven months after he died, I saw him. I was standing outside the Coffee Obsession, and I swear to God, I saw him. It was Mike. He was about three blocks away and talking to a lady. I couldn’t see who she was, but it looked like he was giving her directions as he pointed down the street.
I stood frozen. I knew it wasn’t him. It couldn’t be him. He was gone and I had cried for seven months.
But there he was. It was Mike. It seemed like they talked forever. I was sure he was smiling.
I wanted to get a closer look.
Don’t go, I told myself. Don’t go. You know it can’t be him. If you go, it will mean you have stepped over the line, that you really are crazy.
I waited, desperate to talk to him, terrified that it might be him and terrified that it wasn't him. And then, I saw him turn and walk in the opposite direction.
I took off.
I ran three blocks, dodging sightseers and shoppers, saying “please excuse me” and “I’m sorry” over and over. I knew it couldn’t be Mike, but still I ran after him.
When I was close, I stopped.
My husband had been 6’2”, 185 pounds. He was bald from chemo and 52 years old when he died. He was handsome.
This man was old. He had gray hair and he was skinny. Almost wizened. He was 5’6”-ish and he looked nothing like my Mike. Nothing at all.
I starred, incredulous and gasping for air. How could this be? How could I have mistaken this man for my husband?
I looked at the people around me.
Did they see me? Did they see what I had just done ? Did they see me run down Main Street chasing my dead husband?
But, no one noticed. They were busy.
Thankful they didn't see but also wishing that they had, that I wasn't so alone, I slowly walked back to my coffee shop, again amazed at what grief can do.
The above happened over 8 years ago. I am re-telling the story because
1. I can finally laugh at myself. (And I do!)
2. I know that I am not the only woman to whom this has happened. (OK, maybe you were smart enough not to run after him...)
3. Because sometimes it is good to look back and see how far you have come. (A long, long way!!!)