This past week, some married friends went away on a family vacation, and asked me and Nick if we could stay at their house for 5 days while they were gone, dog-sitting and house-sitting. We were both happy to do it. Not only did it help our friends out, but it also gave us an opportunity to spend some quality alone time together. Without getting into too much detail here, our current living situations are not ideal, and do not allow us much private time at all. So a whole week in a big house together, alone with a dog, sounded like heaven.
It was. Well, my version of heaven anyway. Entire hours and days where we could freely kiss one another or hold each other's hand or reach out and flirtatiously grab the other's waist or ass, without anyone nearby or looking. Cooking and eating meals together, making shopping lists of what things we needed to buy to be prepared for the week ahead. Putting on meditation music to sleep at night, or other varied music throughout the day to help create different moods. Relaxing on the couch watching a hockey game or a movie, our legs wrapped around each other or me leaning my head against his shouder. Having my brother over for homemade pizza and some overdue chat time - meeting Nick's sister for a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Staying in on New Years Eve and making tortellini and sausage with marinara sauce and garlic bread together. These are the things that I now cherish, in this new version of life.
Being together in this way, in a big house at the top of a hill, sharing the responsibilities of dog-feeding and dog-walking (he walked and I fed) - it made me start to think. I started to think about all of the things that Don and I never got to do. All of the life that we never got to live together, or create, or build. The cars we didnt shop for or buy, the children we didnt have, the apartments or houses or condos or whatevers, that we didnt get to search for together. The life-changes of job shifts and moving and kids growing older and health getting weaker - the retirement parties and the mid-life crisis, and the watching of many of our married friends now getting divorced (we saw that happen once in our young, 4 year marriage - where our good friends were getting divorced, and it terrified us). So many things that we just never experienced together, because you can only experience so much in 4 years and 9 months of marriage.
I dont know what kind of time or years or moments Nick and I will be honored to have together.
I hope it is a lot.
I really, truly hope it is a lot.
But I do know this - death has made me thankful and appreciative.
It has made me aware of things I would not have been aware of before.
Death has taken the tiny moments or tiny achievements in a couple's life, and has made them enormous for me.
Having talks about our future together. Chatting casually about possible marriage and private weddings vs. traditional ones.
Owning a house verses owning a condo together.
Creating timelines in our minds of when the next thing can maybe happen to move us more forward into together.
It terrifies me.
Because it might all go away for no reason.
I might lose it all, before it even begins.
But I hope not.
Its exciting to WANT things again. To look forward to my future again.
It's a hard thing to do.
Becausse I was ecstatic about my future with Don.
We had all of these similar conversations.
Where to live, when to have a family, what career path made the most sense.
And then it was all snatched away, before we ever had most of it.
The idea of that happening again makes me nauseous. I feel sick with fear about it.
But I wont let my grief over all the things we never did,
take away my joy and excitement for all the things that lie ahead.
There's a lot of life out there on the horizon.
My heart has earned the privilege of living every bit of it.
And so I will.