Inward and Outward

Mike is everywhere, and nowhere. I feel him in my bones, like a part of my own body. He haunts my every waking hour. I never forget. It never slips my mind that my husband is dead. I can’t stop the memories that flood in. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. Shopping, celebrating a holiday, watching his birthday come and go, sorting through his old things, touching a spoon he used, looking out over the same view he loved.


He’s always there.


And yet he is not here. I can’t hear his voice reply to me. He can’t reach out and touch me. I can’t ride passenger in his truck. I can’t make plans with him, cook with him, or call for him on the phone. I can’t sit next to him on the couch. I can’t touch his lips.


Inwardly, the self reflection never stops. My mind is always calculating how long it’s been. What he might have said about this, or that. That feeling of your heart tugging painfully at an old memory you didn’t ask to remember.


And even deeper, the philosophical turmoil of the soul. Pondering and wondering about life and death. What it all meant for him to have been here with me, and now not be here. What I learned from him. What I learned without him.


Outwardly, the reality of his empty space is stark. And yet my life has, somehow, managed to move forward without him. His daughters and I have found a way to survive, to carry his legacy with a kind of special joy only we really understand, to laugh about old memories, the way he was. We are scarred, yes. The pain is just beneath the surface, a surface so easily scratched away. But we have lives. We work, we love, we eat, cook, pray, walk, drive, shop and play.


These days, if you meet me, you wouldn’t know I was a widow. I don’t wear it on my sleeve like I did the first year. I smile, laugh and enjoy time with friends. I go to work. I study. I dance. I make plans.


Outwardly, even without Mike, I live. I take up space in the world.


Inwardly, I agonize. I make peace. Then I agonize again.


The ongoing dance with grief, the sorrowful partner, my eternal shadow.





Showing 7 reactions

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  • Cathy
    commented 2017-12-03 06:35:45 -0800
    Yes, “the ongoing dance with grief”. Like it or not, my dance card is always filled.
    I go over the bridge to what once was, and back over to this reality w/o him.
    Never ending. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, right there with you.
  • Candace Woodring
    commented 2017-12-02 20:45:40 -0800
    Thank you for sharing this Stephanie.
  • Amanda Stevenson
    commented 2017-12-02 10:03:09 -0800
    Yes, so beautifully written and well said. Everywhere and nowhere and always on my mind!
  • Sharon Wall
    commented 2017-12-01 17:24:55 -0800
    Nailed it again, Stephanie. 3 1/2 years today and Brian is with me/not with me and I too agonize, make peace, agonize again. Beautifully written.
  • Bruce Bullock
    commented 2017-11-30 18:39:51 -0800
    I’m Just starting my 3rd year and this really resonated with where I am now.
    Sort of a “tweener”. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!
  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2017-11-30 14:57:39 -0800
    Scott, thank you for that encouragement. Like many others, I do have a book in the works, but life is so full of the daily bits, it might be awhile before it’s finished. But I will remember your words. Thank you.
  • Scott Fitzgerald
    commented 2017-11-30 14:19:19 -0800
    Your prose is beautiful … poetic, even. I’ve read many of your posts, not because I am a widow or widower (I initially arrived at this website by mistake), but because I find myself admiring the music that you make with your words. If you wished to, I think the writer inside of you could produce a beautiful short story or novel.