When I returned from the desert to find myself back in the Northeast, I fell in love with spring. I had grown up surrounded by four seasons, but after living in the Southwest for 6 years, I had forgotten the power of seasonal changes. When the first spring arrived, after I had moved back, I was overwhelmed with the numerous shades of green that seemed to be everywhere. Different birdsong filled my ears. The streams shook off their ice and water flowed freely again. We could all breathe once more after surviving months of winter.
But that year, the year I lost him, I was so angry at the spring unfolding before my eyes. He died in his sleep and I found him the day after Easter. In that one moment, my whole world tilted on its axis. I spoke with a therapist recently who confirmed my belief that grief changes you down to your core. She told me about studies using PET scans of patients’ brains after the death of a loved one, and the remarkable change doctors see due to such a loss. I know I have never been the same. I found him on a rainy April afternoon, and within days the skies had cleared, the trees were blooming and the grass had sprung up from its winter hibernation. All I could do was stare out at our sun-dappled backyard and feel the bitterness and bile coat my throat, squeeze my chest until I wished the grief would kill me. How could the world open up, just when my own personal world had been completely left asunder? How could anyone enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, the magic of the earth waking up from its long nap, when the one person I had begged to wake up would never do so again?
It has been 13 years since that day. Today, in fact, is the anniversary and for the first time in many years, I decided to wear our wedding rings to work. I had asked for his before they took his body away. I wore it religiously with my own until I eventually, years later, found a man I felt I could take them off for. But today the weight on my finger feels good, like an old friend gone too long. As if the life I once led, once believed would last forever, hasn’t completely vanished. But I know these are sentimental thoughts. I know what was lost cannot be recaptured and I don’t think my soul or my heart will ever heal from the scars.
I am better, so far, this year than I have on previous anniversaries. But I can feel myself closing off to others, and all I want to do is be left alone, because I don’t know if I will be wonderfully charming (the face I wear at work) or if, in a moment of grief, I will take off someone’s head. I have 6 more hours to go until I can close myself off to the world.
The sorrow has never left me. I don’t think it will. It has made me more careful with others, more cautious in getting close to those who wish to get to know me better. I do not want emotional bonding. I have a few, that is enough.
Tonight, I will honor him in some fashion. Perhaps in the way we spent our last night together. Perhaps adding more to this post. I wish with every fiber of my being he hadn’t died. I wish I knew why he was taken from me – what the purpose of that was. Because what we had was perfect, magical, and kept me sane. When I lost him, I lost all of that. I am still trying to decipher the treasure map back to what it all means and to find the girl I lost when I lost him.
© Sorrow & Kindness