I bought a dress. In and of itself this isn’t some big deal. But, in my situation, this ordinary task is monumental and significant. I bought a dress because it caught me eye. I liked it. It is simple and classy. It is white with small black polka dots. In my mind, it seems like something I would like to wear in Paris.
I am visiting Europe this summer. In the past, I imagined going there with Mike. But, Mike died; and now this will never happen. Sure, people tell me he will “be” with me when I am there. And, yes, in Spirit, he will be. But, it is not the same. I feel awful saying this because I know Mike wishes it was different just as much as I do. But, his invisible “presence” is not enough. It is not as good as having him physically in my life. And, trust me, I have tried making it enough. It falls short and it always will.
I bought this simple summer dress knowing that he would never physically see me wearing it.
I bought this dress knowing that I will stand without him in a country that I’ve never been to wearing it.
I bought this dress knowing that as I am wearing it I will miss him.
I bought this dress for myself because there is no one else who will appreciate it on me anymore.
I bought this dress and it didn’t make me feel good. It didn’t make me feel bad either. But, like everything in my life, it was bittersweet.
My life since Mike died is lacklustre. It is not a bad life, but it is not good either. Life with him was better than this. Whatever I recreate and do with my life, it will always be without him. I will, eventually, rebuild a life worth living, but I will miss him all throughout my life. I have accepted this.
Sure, I am young.
I will likely met another man.
So what. That’s great.
But, it doesn’t cancel out missing Mike because I have a new person to share my life with.
That is not how this works.
I know that I can fall in love again. I have known this all along. I know that my heart is big enough to love both Mike and a new person. But, will new love ever be as carefree? Likely not. Now, I know that people die. And, good things end. Maybe this knowledge will make love even better. Even more appreciated. Time will tell. But, I imagine love will now always be a bit more precarious. I will always wonder if he (the new guy) will be alive in the morning because I know this is not guaranteed. Once upon a time, the best man I knew went to sleep and he never woke up. It happened once. It could happen again.
I have to find a way to enjoy life and a new love without fixating on the chance that my life will implode once again. I am not dating anyone so this isn’t a real concern; but, still, I have thought of the possibility of having to do the widow thing twice. I think it comes with the territory...
So, anyhow, back to the dress. I bought a dress. I will wear this dress for me and for Mike as I stand in Paris. I wish he could see me in this dress. I wish I could get dressed up for him and have his eyes appreciate me, like he always did. But, this is not going to happen when I wear this dress or any other dress for that matter. Mike is not going to lay his eyes on me ever again. Still, despite the fact that the only man who matters will not appreciate me in this dress, I will wear my new dress and I will celebrate that I am alive. I will continue on without him because I have no other choice. I will try to live the best way I know how, the way he and I hoped to live out our life together. But, this summer, when I wear this dress in Paris, without him by my side, I am not entirely sure how I will feel. Probably like I always do. A mix of mild happiness and a deep emptiness. This is a terrible way to live, but for now, it is the way it is.
For the record, I am not entirely miserable, but I am not altogether happy. I sort of just float through my life in a semi-conscious state. I struggle to get more present. I am trying, but it isn’t easy. I miss him everywhere I am. I can’t escape it. Maybe I don’t want to. Maybe it isn’t possible. Mike made an indelible impression on my Soul; and, now I have to learn to live without him. This is going to take time. A dress won’t fix this, even if it is a really beautiful one.
The Owner of a lovely polka-dot dress,