The other day I went into Sports Authority looking for something - it’s not a store I need to go to very often but it was one of Mike’s favorites. He was so excited when we heard a big sports store was coming to our little island town all those years ago. As I was walking around I was hit with a flood of memories of being in there with him. I was totally not prepared for it. I was so focused on the task at hand and crossing my errands off my list.
It was so palpable it almost seemed like he was walking beside me; I could feel the energy of him wafting down over me as I walked in. And then nearly every single aisle triggered a different memory. Oh remember that time he was looking for archery targets…and how he loved to sort through all the gadgets in the camping equipment…how he spent so long looking for the right tape to wrap his hands…how we went shopping for rollerblades together, and searched for the perfect pair of walking shoes that wouldn’t hurt his feet…in this aisle I remember finding him that shirt with the breathable fabric…how I came to find a safe to store some of his things after he died…
It just went on and on. By the end of my walk around the place my pace quickened. I had to get out of there. It was just too painful, and I walked to my car with tears in my eyes.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the window as I walked out and thought…there she is, the widow, the person shopping alone, the one he left behind.
There was no happy husband walking beside me with his new toys.
Sometimes there is just no warning when those triggers will hit, and it reminds me how damaged I feel. The wound feels so raw…will it always be? Will I spend every day for the rest of my life haunted by that day he died, finding his body, sitting at the dining room table with the police officer in a cloud of shock so great I couldn’t cry or think or speak…and constantly reminded of all the memories of a life we shared?
It still seems so unreal. That it is impossible it could have happened, and that almost two and a half years have passed since that terrible day. My brain still cannot quite wrap itself around the reality that he is truly gone forever and yet my life has had to go on.
I do work hard to have a life and act as “normal” as I can out there. And I’ve made some good strides since he died. But sometimes I feel like I’m just really bad at it all without him. I’m just damaged goods…easily triggered…fragile. I texted my widowed friend Margaret about that the other day…we wondered together whether the best years of our lives are behind us. Could that really be true? Is the pain of missing them, the pain of all the memories of a lost life, always going to cloud our future days?
People who have not experienced this type of loss cannot understand the constant torment. We are seen participating in the world, going to work, running errands, having relationships, even laughing over a glass of wine, and since we’re not sobbing all over the place all the time they assume we’re “better”. But we are not. We never really will be.
I have things to look forward to. I’ve made a point of that. My musician and I are leaving for our trip to England in two weeks. I’ve been making a list of castles I want to see, and I know he is really needing a break himself and can hardly wait to relax in a pub far away from it all with a really good ale. Then in September I will travel to the mainland for a convention and family visits. We are even trying to plan a kind of family reunion for Christmas, something I dearly wished we’d done when Mike was still alive.
But throughout it all…I miss him. I just miss him. So much.