The other day, I was watching the Yankee game, and the Yankees were playing at home, against the Seattle Mariners. Now, if you know anything at all about baseball or the Yankees, you might know that Robinson Cano left the Yankees at the end of last season, and signed on with the Mariners. It is complicated and has to do with contracts and negotiations and things, but the bottom line is that Cano got a better offer, so he left. Yankee fans are pretty split on how they feel about Cano - some think he is being disloyal to the Yankees by leaving for money, others say "I don't blame him. I'd take the money too. There's no loyalty left in sports anyway." I tend to agree with those people, and I know my husband would have too. He would have said:"Good for him." So, during the game, the first time Robinson Cano came up to bat at Yankee Stadium, in a Mariners uniform - there was lots of booing. The Yankee fans booed him. I was watching the game alone, in my bedroom, and as I heard the chorus of boos, I looked to my right and said out loud to nobody: "Awww, honey. I don't like that they are booing him. Real fans would give him an ovation to recognize the incredible talent he added to our team." There was no response. Why would there be? My husband is dead, and generally speaking, dead people can't take part in commentating baseball games.
I am 1000% aware that my husband is no longer alive on this earth. So, when I am talking to myself in that way, it is not as if I have lost my mind, although sometimes it does feel that way. But no. I am talking to myself, or to my husband - because that is how I watched every single Yankee game for 14 years. The first 7 years, when we were dating long-distance, we would talk on the phone or computer during all the games. Then, later, when he moved from Florida to New Jersey to start our life together, we would sit on the couch or in our bedroom, watching the games together and talking - commentating. So, I was talking to myself in that moment, because talking to my husband is still a part of my moments, and I am unsure, both subconsiously and consciously, how to make that not so. And do I want to? Not really.
A widower friend of mine told me the other day, that sometimes, he will just say things out loud to his late wife, or ask her a question or talk to her. Not because he is expecting an answer, but because he "likes hearing what it sounds like" to still be having everyday conversations with her. I totally understood what he meant, because I do the same thing. Do I realize I am doing it? Sometimes. And sometimes not. Yes. And no.
Marriage is a secret - it is the most beautiful secret between two people, sharing and laughing and growing and creating and loving. Breathing in the essence and the joy and the imperfections of each other, and living inside of the universe that you both built for each other and with each other. When the other half of you dies and leaves that universe, your world becomes a wide open empty space where their voice and their soul and their heart once lived. All that was filled with the "us" is now just a cavern - a gaping hole - an echo. There are so many pieces of a marriage or partnership, that are wonderful secrets - things that only the two of you understand, jokes that belong to you and he, moments that define you as a couple. That look.Those eyes. That wink. That sound he makes that nobody else understands. But you understand.
All of these tiny, enormous things, are the things and the fragments that make up the whole of the relationship. They are things that simply exist - like air or water. You don't really think about them, until, of course, you do. Because just like air and water, you need these pieces and fragments to survive. You feed off of them, and they nourish you. When your person dies and leaves your universe, all of those fragments become nothingness. The jokes are unfinished. The laughter is now silence. The memories and the stories that made up the "us", they linger and float in the air, and there is nowhere for them to land. Nobody is present to say the words: "Do you remember?" It is the loneliest and saddest reality, to know and to feel, that you are now the only one who remembers. The beautiful secrets of "us" now sit within you, and they are for you to hold alone, as you scream your every whisper, into the forever Echo.