Mostly, I stay in the here and now. Who can bear to even imagine 24 hours from now? So I focus my eyes right in front of me, the next step, the next mile.
18 months and a couple weeks since Chuck's death and I still look down at my feet to see where they are and I stay there. Mostly.
I'm in Key West right now, with my daughter, as I continue my Odyssey of Love for him. Memories of him are everywhere and each one stabs into me with pain, a reminder that he's gone. So, yeah, as I sat on a beautiful beach today staring out at the aqua waters, you might think I'd be appreciating the sun and sand-and you would be so wrong. I stared out at the bright blue waters into the endless horizons of the Gulf and saw only the vast emptiness that echoes in my heart and my mind, untethered, took off into my future and the anxiety began pulsing through my blood with each pump of my still working heart and I wondered how the fuck do I do the rest of my life without him?
My daughter anticipates her return to Arizona and her husband and setting up their lives after her 6 months on the road with me. Our older son who resides in Arizona is busy with his daughter and his
job and a new girlfriend and it looks like they have a future together, and our younger son in Connecticut is nearing the end of his schooling for EMT certification and he and his lovely girlfriend are planning their lives, and Chuck's daughter continues her active life with her two kids in Vermont.
All of this is, of course, everything a parent could wish for, and I'm so thankful they are creating their lives. I know they miss their dad dreadfully, and always will, but their lives are truly continuing and that fills my heart with love for them.
Today my brain slipped ahead in time, after I drop my daughter off. Not in a self-pitying way but in a holy hell and fuck, what do I do next? What do I do for the rest of my life without him? I read about other widows who are years out, ahead of me, who talk about the still-there pain and grief and I shudder and flinch and think how unsustainable this is in every way but this is what I have and I don't know how to do this long-term. How do I spend the rest of my life with his absence?
I'm open to love again, I'm open to life; each day I get up and drive and do and I'm involved and I meet people and new experiences happen continually and none of it touches that place inside me that just fucking stabs reminders into me. My only worry, really, is that this pain will continue the rest of my life and that is completely and utterly horrifying to me. I know that it can ease over time; I get that. But how can it be that it isn't there always, in some form? The level of grief is equal to the level of love one holds and even if another man comes into my life to love me and be loved, Chuck's absence will always be present.
He is missing from me and it's agony.