Whether or not there is a belief in God or an afterlife, I would bet that many widowed people talk to their lost loves. The first few months after Mike died I remember that horrific, heart-clenching, shattering new reality that he was not there to talk to anymore. But as time went on I just started talking to him anyway. Sometimes I yelled at him for leaving me. Sometimes now it’s a short I miss you, Mike. I say that a lot. Out loud. Other times I find myself having a longer conversation.
I still have his pickup truck, and I use it every week or two for my dump and recycle runs. It is still pretty much the way he left it - his little surfboard necklace hanging from the rearview mirror, his emergency kit behind the seat, even a pair of his shoes still rest on the floor.
This week I had a day planned for that errand. When I woke up and sat down with my coffee, I plugged my earphones into my phone preparing to call my mom and check in. One of Mike’s favorite bagpipes songs was suddenly playing loudly in my ear. Once again, I did not open the music app or choose that song. Maybe it’s just a glitch with this phone. But I sat there anyway for a couple of minutes, listening to the lyrics talk about memories and love and figured it was a pretty good note from Mike, whether or not it really was him that did that.
And he didn’t seem to stray far from me that day. Maybe it’s just me, but some days he seems farther away than others. So as I started up the truck and headed down the mountain, I just started talking to him. Out loud, the whole way. I told him everything that was going on with me - the limbo world I exist in, not knowing what is happening with the house, my dad’s condition back East, my worry for the dogs, my excitement about school and trepidation at starting a new career.
I asked for his help too. Of course I did. I asked for him to put a word in for me up there, to help smooth some of the wrinkles, help me see the right path, make the right decisions. And I thought I heard him in my head, imagining what he might have said. He said I should be visualizing what I want in life. To imagine the future I want, and create it virtually in my mind, giving it room to materialize. Those are things he would say to us in life.
I see a peaceful future for myself. One filled with days of helping people, successfully navigating the new tools I am being taught. A clean, quiet office in a small place of my own which I can easily afford, somewhere I can walk down the street for a cup of coffee, or a drink with a friend. I see my parents safe and cared for with the hard decisions behind us. I see meet-ups and events and trips to look forward to.
It kind of stops there. I think that’s because it’s scary to try and think too far ahead. I wonder about getting older myself. I wonder how I will die, I wonder about my own end of life - I wonder how long I have. I want peace and joy as much as anyone, but I can’t help thinking about pain. The pain of grief as more and more people I love move on from this life.
But I guess we all we really have is the day, don’t we? Maybe, just getting through the day at hand is enough. I’ll keep those positive thoughts alive, and try not to focus on the hard ones. There is no try, only do or do not, I hear in my head, Mike’s favorite Yoda philosophy. Yeah, Mike. But I can just try. You also would say there is no plan B - but here I am, living it.