My journey as a widow began four years ago today. Four years seems like both an eternity, and an instant. Standing at the foot of his emergency room bed that day, watching his pulse rate drop to zero, I saw the road ahead of me very clearly. Alone. That was the word that my brain screamed. Alone.
At first I didn't want to touch his things, for fear that my scent would overpower his. But as shock turned to despair, I reached out for him and found comfort in his sweatshirt, his t-shirts, his slippers.
For awhile I could hear his voice in my ears, but as time passed I could no longer hear the exact cadence of his voice. I became extremely grateful for the brief recording of our wedding.
In the early days everyone remembered the important milestones. But with the changing of many seasons the dates that used to fill me with sorrow sometimes pass unnoticed by anyone.
In August of 2005 the best I could do was put one foot in front of the other. In August of 2009 I have recovered the ability to dream.
I have forgotten how my stomach feels when I am desperate. I have forgotten which hamstring he tore in that race he insisted on running one June day. I have forgotten how it feels to have his hand on my hip. I have forgotten how I managed to get myself out of bed those first few months. I have forgotten what carrying a weight on my heart every minute of every day felt like. I have forgotten the bitterness that haunted me for years. I have forgotten the initial revulsion I felt for the word widow.
But I remember how to love Phil. I remember the joy with which he filled my days. I remember the comfortable feeling of being loved. I remember his silly antics, the way he charmed people, and the intensity with which he cared for his family. I remember the pride I felt in being married to Phillip Hernandez.
It has taken me four years to realize that what I remember is more important than what I forget. And that love is the only thing that never dies.
In Loving Memory of Phillip Hernandez
A Life Well Lived