It's been four and a half years. I have lived 1, 650 days without Daniel Dippel's voice in my ears, his hand in mine, his presence at my side. I have bought and moved to two different houses and owned two cars he's never seen. My child has grown 20 inches and advanced 4 grades. I have wrinkles I never dreamed of and traveled to places he'd only read about. Life has continued to happen, and Grayson and I have adjusted every day.
Four and a half years ago, our life was altered 100 percent. Daily life changed in ways I could never have imagined, and the "new normal" I live now was only a figment of my imagination. I couldn't envision the day ahead of me when I woke up in the morning, much less imagine next week, or the week after that. I remember at that time, people walked around me like I was a landmine...about to explode under the slightest pressure. I remember the awkwardness when they said his name - and the look my direction to see if I was going to lose it. I remember the relief they seemed to feel when they realized that I welcomed the conversation. At the time, people seemed to avoid saying his name, for fear I'd forgotten about it for a minute and they might cause me sadness by making me remember. It was a sweet consideration, but definitely wasted effort.
Have you ever forgotten your spouse was dead? (other than the occasional grabbing of the phone to call him/her with good news or a funny joke - only to be jolted by the sudden realization - I friggin hate those moments...) I mean really, would someone talking about him be so bad? I loved talking about him then, and I still love it now. It is comforting to me. It keeps him alive. Oddly enough, there are people in my life who are still uncomfortable, still awkward about it. Really? I mean how many years have to pass? I think it is easier for me in some ways because I deal with it every day. I wake up without him, go through my day without him, and climb alone into my bed at night. I cannot pretend he isn't gone. I have to deal with it all day everyday.
In some ways, I think the constant reminders that he is gone have sped up my recovery - or at least given me such a strong dose of reality that I can't help but deal with the loss. Maybe that is a good thing? Others are not so fortunate. They can hide from it - temporarily. Some of them hide from me, and I know that as sad as it is, I make them uncomfortable. Grayson and I make them face that Daniel is gone - we are living proof that he isn't here. It is hard for them, and they avoid us when they can. But, they can't avoid feeling it forever. Grief finds you, and eventually you will have to deal with it - like it or not.