Even Without Me


Four years, 3 months, and two days after you died, I walked under a blanket of oak and beech trees. The air was cool and crisp, the leaves still shining from a gentle rain… holding drips ransom until the wind blows them loose with a whisper. We were in the city, he and I, but all the world around us was quiet up on that wooded hill. As we explored this newfound paradise, there was a wonder present… the kind of childlike feeling that was always around with you. Slowly a sadness crept into me. It was so gentle I don’t think I even noticed it for a time. Then suddenly, as we began to make our way down the hill, and back to the car, I felt it keenly. It seemed so odd to me to be sad while exploring nature, one of my favorite things to do.

And then I realized, and asked aloud to him, “Do you ever just get sad out of nowhere that they can’t experience any of this anymore?” He confirmed my wondering. Which of course, I know, anyone who has lost someone sometimes gets sad about that. Only thing is, it’s been a long while for me. Or at least, since I actually realized that’s why I was sad.


He reassured me they are still experiencing it, and - quickly realizing this platitude wasn’t helpful - acknowledged my wish that the one I lost could physically experience the world still. I was quiet a moment, holding back tears. Not sure what to even say about this sudden pain. Knowing also, that he has felt the same way about his own love who died.

We approached the car, and as he opened the door for me lovingly, it seemed that little gesture made it all overflow. I cried. And he held me in his arms. And for a moment I let myself be overcome with this particular sadness. The sadness that you will never again have the scent of an earthy rain fill your nostrils the we we could that day. You will never again hear the sounds of the wind whispering in the trees, or the trickle of a nearby creek. That you will never again feel the exhilaration pump through your veins at anything adventurous, because you no longer have veins.

I think it’s been years since I’ve felt this particular kind of heartbroken. Simultaneously, I’m so humbled that I in fact am still here... body, breath and warm blood. Eyes to see the world. I’m certain you still experience it all, but how my heart wishes you got to live out your days. Even if we’d never met, and had entirely separate lives, I still wish yours had been longer and filled with so many more days under trees after a fresh, afternoon rain. So many more days to be left in awe of the great wonders of this earth.

Regardless of my desire to know what our life together would have been, I think I’d trade that in an instant if it meant I could just give you life itself back, even without me.  


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  • commented 2016-09-19 04:20:50 -0700
    Don’t know why, but I feel this sadness more so at change of seasons, like now as we move into fall. Maybe because I realize time is moving forward, and he is not, other than in my heart. And we loved all four seasons, each with its unique offering of weather and nature. I especially missed him this summer, at the birth of our grand daughter. He should be here.
  • commented 2016-09-18 15:56:34 -0700
    I’ll never ever get over the fact he is no longer here to share this with me and I with him. Never. And every single day I am sad and very often I breakdown because of this.
    Three years and eight months into this I miss him more than imaginable and I can’t do it differently. If it’s possible to miss him more than I did on day one I believe I have reached that point.
    It’s just sad. All of it.
  • commented 2016-09-18 09:57:42 -0700
    I sometimes will think about this – Justin had so much life left in him – and he is missing out on so much. Yes – would give it up in a heartbeat so he could walk on this earth here.