I have been wondering lately if being happy limits the freedom I feel to still mourn Phil's death. I have the feeling that "others" expect that my current happiness will cancel out the residual sadness that still exists in my heart over the loss of a man I loved so much. Yes, I realize this is MY issue.
The thing is, I am happy. And yet, I am also still sometimes sad. I have come to a place in my life where I would no longer trade in every person, experience, friend, family member, or new found love for the opportunity to have just one more minute with Phil. You know what I mean. There was a time when I would have swapped every single moment of my life for the chance to be held in Phil's arms just one more time. Today, I have moved past that point. But not so far past that secret desire to be who I used to be for just one minute that my heart has stopped aching all together.
When I see someone at the gym who looks like Phil, I still take in my breath too quickly. When there is a job to be done that he would do effortlessly, I still curse the fates that he is not available to complete the task. As time marches on and our families grow, the world changes, and life moves forward I still wonder what he would think of it all. Every once in awhile I still feel him somewhere very near by, and my heart aches.
I have often wondered what would happen if my heart stopped aching. In my current state of happiness the poor beaten down organ has taken a much needed break from sadness. My life is filled with amazing people. I am loved by a generous and understanding man. My kids are happy and healthy. I am blessed to be surrounded by an exceptional circle of family and friends. Given all of these facts, I wonder when the reality of Phil's death will stop knocking me over, if only every so often, with the proverbial waves of grief. Will there be a time when his absence will lose the power to stop me in my tracks? And what will I feel if that day comes.
I don't have the answers to these rhetorical questions, but deep in my soul I believe that Phillip Hernandez will still be with me when the heartache ends.