After one year, six months, and six days,
Almost every thought still begins with you.
I am unable to live completely in the moment,
And, I struggle to be present,
In my mind,
I am endlessly travelling to a better place in time,
Again and again.
I return to this place,
Where you existed once upon a time.
Time. It goes on...
When his heart stopped, the hands of time were unaffected. I thought I felt time stand still when I saw his lifeless body; but, time itself callously marched on when he died. Time did not stop. Not even for a moment - in spite of my circumstance. The world just carried on without Mike. But, my world was left in ruin when the life I knew ended. However, from the wreckage, something bigger than me, dragged me out from the rubble created by my shattered Soul. I was rescued because my heart is still beating. My life didn't end when Mike's did. Life is for the living; and, now, I'm left to figure out how to do just that...
Almost immediately after his death, life demanded things of me. On a surface level, I was forced to participate in life because children need raising. Work needs to be completed. Bills need to be paid. Dishes need doing. Laundry needs folding. Lawns need mowing. Things need to be said. I need to show up. There are people to meet and obligations to attend to. Life has not stopped because Mike no longer exists here in this dimension. Time has gone on and I've carried along with it.
Life demands participation - even after your person dies. Life is unavoidable. And, in truth, this is a good thing. At this point, there is no part of me that intentionally wishes to escape living. I think this is why my heart feels so heavy. I want to breathe life in again. I absolutely want to feel alive again; but, re-entering life is much more difficult than I imagined it would be.
For ten days, at a retreat centre in Shropshire, I put away my books, pens, and paper, and embraced the quiet. I did not rush to scribble down each passing thought. I did not seek the distraction and comfort of the books that called to me. I sat with what came, and let it flow through me. In that spacious and quiet place, I learned to set aside my well-worn stories about myself and the world.
We arrived at Taraloka, a Buddhist Retreat Centre built by, run by, and designed for, women, at 4 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon. We were the first ones there, and I used the time to settle into my room and become accustomed to the silence. Our first evening brought the arrival of 24 other women, a leisurely dinner, and a meditation, before we all wandered off to our rooms for an early night of rest. Our next 9 days would begin at 6 a.m.
Though the initial two days were talking days, I found this time without the written word to be excruciatingly painful. Without the easy comfort of internet, books, and writing, the images of my husband, all the memories of our life together, and the tragic story of his death, poured through me. A well of sadness erupted from deep within, and I cried. And cried. And cried. I cried for the first two days.