Some days are better than others. That’s the simplest explanation.
There are days when I can look back at the life I had with A and smile at all of the amazing memories we made. I look at our three wonderful children and remember how proud of them he was, how excited he was for their futures and how he was so looking forward to their children and was even planning the kind of grandparent he intended to be.
There are days that seem to cause nothing but sadness. I think of all the moments in our children’s lives that he will be missing. He won’t be there for our son’s high school graduation, or our daughter’s wedding, or to witness the births of the grandchildren he was so anxious to see.
Sometimes it’s the same memories and the same thoughts resulting in completely warring emotions. That seems to sum up grief for me; a dichotomy of feelings. It baffles me that I can feel simultaneously empty and hollow, yet so weighted down and heavy. I am mystified that I can find both pleasure and pain from the moments we shared.
Recently I was going through old emails and texts from my husband. The very last text from him was from the Friday afternoon before his heart attack, and it read simply, “Love uou too.” At the time, I’m sure I chuckled or rolled my eyes at his misspelling (probably both), because so many of our text exchanges included me correcting his grammar, his spelling, or both to the point where he came to expect it. I teased I was preparing him for his future life in the public eye, and he genuinely seemed to appreciate it, sometimes even asking if he had said something correctly.
But this time, rereading it as his last written words to me, made me close my eyes and sigh heavily as the arrow of loss shot me through my empty heart. On the one hand, I’m really thankful that the last written communication we had was positive and meaningful and so “him”. As most long-term couples can attest, texts and phone calls don’t always end on a high note, and we’ve had our share of disagreements via both forms of communication. Texting, especially, can sometimes cause a great deal of confusion and hurt feelings, simply by virtue of misunderstanding the meaning and intent behind them.
So if there had to be a “last text”, I’m thankful that it is one that can make me smile. On the other hand, I hate that there has to be a last text. It seems so unfair. No, it is unfair and I hate it. I rail at the Universe in taking away the other half of my heart. I’m certain there are so many more individuals with much more tragic stories than my own, and it’s likely unreasonable of me to be angry over losing my husband. We did have 32 years together, which is truly a gift, and I know that, yet it wasn’t enough. And it seems especially cruel since we were getting to a point where it looked as though our lives would only be getting better.
We were anticipating our “empty nest” because it meant that we would be able to fully focus on one another, something we had yet been unable to do. I came home from our honeymoon pregnant with our oldest, and she was, indeed, our most treasured memento from that vacation. But the ensuing morning sickness and nearly immediate focus on parenthood left little time to simply be a married couple. Then, our other two children came along, we moved several times to locations where we knew no one, worked sometimes two jobs at once, and a series of other life events that did not often allow us to each simply direct our attentions solely on the other.
This is not a complaint. Far from it. Growing up, I only ever wanted to be a wife and mother, and would have been quite content to have been a stay-at-home mom. Turns out, A was a much better stay-at-home parent than I was. At least that’s the way I saw it, although whenever I would grumble and whine to him about how much better at it he was and how the kids liked him better, he denied it. Vehemently. He would tell me all the ways in which he felt that I was the better parent and how blessed the kids were to have me as a mom. (I suppose if you’re going to argue about parenting styles, this type of “discussion” is probably the nicest way to go about it, don’t you think? It reminds me of those ultra-polite Goofy Gophers, Mac and Tosh, who are constantly saying “after you”… “no, no, after you. I insist”, a running joke in our household as my husband was an avid Looney Tunes fan – although to be honest, I always thought they were chipmunks until I researched it for this article!)
This last little diversion / trip down Memory Lane actually illustrates quite accurately how our conversations often went (which is likely a direct result of my unusual brain / thought process). Our discussions would start out with a certain goal in mind, then one of us (generally me) would get distracted (oooh, squirrel!) and veer it off on a different course entirely.
Strangely, this worked for us. And it is yet another one of the things I miss about my husband. He got me. He really got me. He may not have always understood me because, let’s face it, I don’t understand myself half the time. But he overlooked it and appreciated me for who I am. That’s nothing to scoff at in a relationship, that utter acceptance of the other person. Many people never have that, and I know I am well and truly blessed to have experienced it. Even if it ended much sooner than it should have. Much, much too soon.
In any case, my love, wherever you may be… Thank you for showing us how to love. I miss you like crazy. And I love uou, too.
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