Today marks Day 500 since I lost A. Lost him. Such a stupid phrase, when it feels more that he was ripped from our lives, his passing leaving jagged scars and empty spaces in our lives.
500 days. That’s almost long enough to carry two babies to term. It’s more than two-and-a half school years. It’s at least 6 changes of season (anywhere else but Florida, that is). It’s a fairly significant period of time, holding so much potential for change and growth.
So much has changed since that fateful April, yet so much hasn’t, as well. Although I believe I’m getting stronger and more capable of living this life on my own, I also realize that I will never be exactly who I was before. I am forever changed. How could I not be?
I’m not sure why, but I feel as if I’m sliding backwards a bit these past few weeks. Perhaps it’s natural after the busy chaos of planning our daughter’s wedding. Or perhaps it’s simply because without that chaos, there’s more time to think again. And feel. And miss my husband.
Whatever the reason, on Day 500, I find that I’ve been fighting off the blues recently. Scratch that. I’ve been experiencing the blues. My one “rule” through this whole thing has been to feel it all. So, even though it isn’t easy, and although I’d rather not be feeling this way, I am. And I’m allowing it. By processing these emotions, I’m detoxing. Cleansing the wounds to allow further healing.
I miss him. Some days more than others, but that hollow, empty place is always there. I still pick up the phone at times to tell him something that has happened. Or to share some silly piece of information. Or simply to hear his voice. Does that habit ever go away? Will he always be the first person I think of to share my life with? Or will that urge eventually fade or be replaced by thoughts of someone else, someone who can respond with enthusiasm or sympathy, depending on the situation? Do I want it to…?
On Day 500, I still find myself waking in the middle of the bed, presumably after trying to find my way to A’s side during the night. I still find myself with fleeting thoughts on the periphery of my mind, wondering when he’s coming back from wherever it is my mind thinks he has gone. I still find myself in tears at random times, sometimes for a specific reason, but other times for nothing I can quite put my finger on. I still find myself reaching for his favorite cereal or choosing the color dress he’d like best. I still find nearly every thought I have being weighed against what he would think or choose or do.
But also on Day 500, I look back on my nearly 12-hour solo drive to Tennessee to visit my family. I remember the first time I fixed something around the house or assembled a piece of furniture. I recall the hundreds of daily decisions and actions I’ve been forced to make on my own and realize they may not have been exactly the same as the ones I would have made with A, but they still worked out fine.
My life has changed drastically in the last 500 days, which is an understatement and goes without saying. I miss my husband every day, and still wonder how I’m supposed to do this for years to come, God willing. I sometimes look to the future and all I see is a bleak, empty landscape where I’m wandering alone, lost and hopeless.
But most of the time, I look ahead to the future and, remembering how far I’ve come in 500 days, realize I am strong, and capable, and will not be held down, even by my own emotions. Especially not by my own emotions. I will keep moving forward, because I refuse to lie down and give up. At least not for very long.
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