The heart knows...
I had a feeling it was getting close. So, I looked up how long Mike has been dead. And, there it was, 1,000 days exactly. I KNEW it. And, I didn't know it because I am some sort of math whiz. Nope. I felt it in my heart. And, the computer confirmed what my heart already knew. Monday August 12th, 2019 I will have lived ONE THOUSAND DAYS without Mike.
I knew that this day would come. And, I feel dumbstruck. I feel nothing and the weight of everything - all at once. Early on, I didn't know how I would live without him. For months, I literally took it minute by minute. I would fight to breathe from moment to moment And, sometimes breath eluded me. Then, after a while, I broke the hours up into quarters and I survived them as they came. Then, eventually I just got through each half-hour without dying. And, then after many months I lived from hour to hour without him.
Sometime after the first year, I found a way to make it through the day without a lot of preparation or thought. I just made it through because I had no other choice. I lived without him. And, as each day drew to a close, I was genuinely shocked that I actually made it. Every night, as the moon came out, I broke into a loneliness that I was sure would swallow me whole. But, I survived. And, now, today as you read this, I have survived outliving Mike for 1,000 days. I feel like someone should be dripping praise all over me. I feel like I should be awarded a medal or something. But, there isn't a badge of honor for this type of thing. There is no ceremony. No one knows. Not one person, besides me, is aware that today Mike will have been dead for 1,000 days. Grief is like this. We achieve many milestones alone. We celebrate in our own hearts. And, we feel the emptiness and aching in solitude.
No one was there those nights that I lay on the hard wooden floor and gasped for breath as I begged him over and over "please don't die". No one was there, long past the midnight hour, when I sat alone and the only sound I heard in my house was the clock ticking. No one was there all those times I cried myself to sleep. I made it here on my own. It is the way grief is fought. It is hard, solitary work. It requires persistence and demands that you rebuild your foundation and your future.
I said grief is solitary work, and in many ways it is. But, there is also a strong community among grieving hearts. We care for one another fiercely and the kinship we have is genuine and sacred. Since Mike died, many good people have come into my life and they have held me steady as I have worked to recreate my identity and rebuild my life. I am grateful to all of the people who have loved me and championed me when Mike can no longer physically do this. Your presence, in his absence, has mattered.
After 1,000 days I continue to steadily rebuild my life. And, I have accepted that my future is not the one I had imagined, but it is the one I've got. So, I am living forward with Mike's signature written all over my life. And, I can feel it, a beautiful life is waiting for me to walk right into it.