That Other Life

Does it ever stop? Does it ever really go away? 

That feeling. That longing, that comes out of nowhere. 

That thing where you are inside of a moment, even enjoying it and loving it, and then suddenly, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, that feeling, like you've swallowed a nail, just enters your stomach, like an invasion. 

Suddenly, while deeply involved in a beautiful moment of the life you currently have, it enters you. Right there, smack in the center of your joy, a deep and overwhelming sadness. 

That thing. 

That longing. 

That Other Life. 

That Other Life, the one you had before death stole it away, reminds you how much you miss it, over and over and over again. It happens in a split second, and it takes you by surprise each time, as if it's never happened before. Standing there, in the midst of ecstatic joy, you feel like you want to cry forever. That other life pokes you and stabs you again and again, just in case you had forgotten for a few seconds, that you can never have it again. 

Last night, Hillary Clinton made history when she accepted the nomination for President of the United States - the first ever female nominee of a major political party. As I watched it unfold on C-SPAN, I felt such joy at the history of it all. At what it means for America, for women in this country and all over the world. I felt it on a visceral level, and I started to beam with pride. I was smiling and laughing right along with Bill and Hillary, as those balloons fell from that "glass ceiling" that had been lifted.

And then, just like that, out of nowhere, my joy turned into a longing and an intense sadness. There was no warning. No sense of why, in that moment, all my emotions decided to flip. They just did, and suddenly, I was sobbing. Just seconds before, the joy was so pure and genuine. And then, just gone. An emptiness took it's place, and I had this need to share this historical moment in time, with my husband. My husband, who predicted that Hillary would be our first female President. My husband, who was born on Election Day and was a fellow Democrat with me. My husband, who was way more into politics than I am, and who loved debating and talking points and learning and sharing. My husband, who would still be teaching me things, and who would have the same pride in this moment that I have. And please don't tell me that he was right there with me, or that he DID see it, or that I should talk to him anyway. I know all of that. But none of that is even close to the same, and none of that is going to feed me what I want, which is for him to be here right now, in this moment in time, to watch this happen with me. That other life. I want it. And I can never have it. Not ever again. And when that point is driven home multiple times, slamming into me like a tornado, it just hurts. And it keeps on hurting, until it doesn't. Until next time. 

This life is the life that I have, and I have vowed to make it a bright and beautiful one, because my husband does not have that option. But that longing - that need and urge and want - to get it all back again, to turn back time and have him here with me - it will never go away. 

I suppose we just figure out a way, to live inside this life, while honoring and remembering that other life. And perhaps finding places where we can merge the two together - like a tapestry or a blanket, of everything that we were, that we are, and that we will become. That other life is NOT part of our past. It is the foundation for everything beautiful, that we still have yet to see. 

We don't need to choose between that life and this one. We cannot ever have that life back, so there is no choice to make. But, it is not gone either. I refuse to believe it is gone. If it were gone, then it wouldn't keep showing it's face and it's soul - it wouldn't keep invading us while living this life. So embrace it. When it shows up, embrace it. Acknowledge it. Talk about it. Make it known to others that it's there and that you're missing it. For when we merge all the pieces of who we are, and everything that made us, it is only then, that we become whole. 


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  • commented 2016-07-31 08:39:11 -0700
    I still will never forget September 2008 – when Justin and I walked hand in hand to vote for Obama. We had recently moved from New Jersey to Florida – th�inking starting our lives in paradise. Watching Hillary and the Democratic convention – like you brought on so many triggers. Thank you for validating this. Tears would not stop rolling down my face. I’m trying to Move Forward – but the missing him and coming on to 5 year post loss – plus other obstacles that are coming in my way. It is incredibly hard. Talking about it helps – thank you thank you for this! Sending you much love and wish we could talk in person about this. What a great blog!
  • commented 2016-07-30 19:57:14 -0700
    Oh boy Kelley, you need to get out of my head. Your words have just said exactly what I’ve been thinking lately. Gary would just be appalled at Donald Trump’s antics and the people that have allowed him to be a presidential candidate. And I long to be able to watch him watch CNN and watch him shake his head in disbelief and be able to laugh at him while he vents. When Mohamed Ali died, I was so sad that I couldn’t share that sad moment with him. Ali was one of his favourite athletes and it would have been a sad moment of remembrance for him as he reviewed the many Ali fights in his head. It makes me so sad that I can’t share the latest funny thing my grandson said (the kid is hilarious and cracks me up all the time) and in the middle of my belly laugh, I realize that I can’t share this moment with Gary. I was driving home today after my swim, I was feeling great, it was a beautiful day, I had had a good swim and then I saw a car towing a small boat and motor and I started to cry. I will never again watch Gary back his boat and motor into our driveway; I will never again be able to tease him about having to make three tries before he backed in straight. And I long for all these moments…..even in the good times. You’re right – I don’t think it will ever go away and I’m glad for that.
  • commented 2016-07-30 04:02:31 -0700
    Thank you for this — it really hit home. Even though my husband was a rabid Republican, I had the same reaction you did. I missed him not so much to share my joy with but to say " I told you so" to. (did that make sense?!) Our political differences were contentious but I could laugh at his and as friends know, always cancelled out his vote. When he was in a coma and we hoped to awaken him, he did NOT awaken when we told him that Hillary had been elected President. I knew he was never coming back to us. For me, mixed with the joy over Hillary’s nomination is a deep deep sadness.
  • commented 2016-07-29 12:11:37 -0700
    I think we are ALL in the process of creating that quilt, Carol. Thats the point. I dont think the longing ever ends, nor should it. All we can do is live this life and merge the other one into it wherever possible. xoxo
  • commented 2016-07-29 11:55:19 -0700
    As always, you put in beauriful order the words that live amongst the tangled array of thoughts that live in my brain and settle into the lining of my heart. “And when that point is driven home multiple times, slamming into me like a tornado, it just hurts. And it keeps on hurting, until it doesn’t. Until next time.” Still happens. It always will. I’m still in the process of creating that “quilt,” Kelley…I honor his life by living mine as best I can, but oh, how I wish…love to you as you continue to travel this road.
  • Soaring Spirits International posted about That Other Life on Soaring Spirits International's Facebook page 2016-07-29 11:06:20 -0700
    That Other Life
  • @soaringspirits tweeted this page. 2016-07-29 11:06:15 -0700

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