What do you do when your life gets turned upside down in five minutes? When all you have known is gone in a split second. When the person you have loved more than life itself, the person who knows all your secrets, the person who was always suppose to be there to protect you, the person you had a past with and looked forward to a future with is suddenly gone. How can a beautiful sunny summer morning turn gray and dark so fast?
He calls on his way to work to remind me to pick something up, asks what I'm cooking for dinner that night and tells me he loves me and will see me at 5 and then the world as I have known it for so long crashed around me. I hear it, but I don't want to believe it. I can't breath. I hope against hope that I'm still asleep and it's just a nightmare. That I'm going to wake up, all of this was only a dream and life is still normal. But it's not, it won't ever be normal again and I don't know if I'm strong enough to handle this alone. It slowly seeps in and I try to get my thoughts together. I make the phone calls and listen to the silence. Why does this silence seem more profound, it's the same silence I have every morning after he leaves for work, but it's not the same. It's deeper. It feels heavy. Then I hear a scream, a distant far off scream. A gut wrenching scream like I have never heard before. Then I realize it's me. I'm screaming from a place deep inside that I didn't know existed. So many things to do, so much to take care of but all I want to do is lay down, curl up, cry and remember. Remember the good times, the happy times, all the things large and small that we shared. Even the bad times become good memories. So that's what I do because at this moment in time it is all I have the strength to do. People come and people go and I'm somehow amazed at how normal everything around me is, how life is still going on outside of my heart. Can these people not see that it's all over, that life is different now? Can they not see that I will never feel like smiling again? OMG somebody make them stop, I want them all to leave! I don't want them telling me it will get better, I know it won't. I don't want them telling me they know how I feel, they don't. I want them to stop telling me I need food, I just need him. That's all, just him. Night comes and I realize I will be sleeping alone in that bed and I can't do it. The couch becomes my bed. The sounds of night start to invade my thoughts, ordinary sounds I have heard a million times before, but this time I pay attention to them. The hum from the air conditioner, a dog barking in the neighborhood, the neighbor returning from work, the ticking of the clock his grandfather made, crickets chirping and I don't know it yet but those sounds are now burned into my brain, and any one of them will forever trigger the memory of this first night alone. I just want sleep because sleep is normal and I know I won't have to feel while I'm asleep. Finally it comes.
Morning comes and for a minute it seems like every other morning and I wonder why I'm on the couch. Then I remember and this morning takes on new meaning, it's the first morning I wake up alone. But something is missing, something was here all day yesterday and last night. The tears. The tears are gone, replaced by anger. Why did this have to happen? I don't deserve this! How could you leave me alone like this? How dare you leave me to face all this alone! What gives you the right to screw up my world? I take back my prayers from yesterday God, I don't believe in you today! I can handle today because I am pissed and I want to hold on to this anger, I don't want to feel what I felt yesterday ever again. Anger is easier. Somebody tells me we have to go now, what clothes do you want to take? I can't do this, it's too hard. But I do because it's the last thing I will ever get to do for him. Do I let him take his wedding ring or do I keep it? It's his but I need it. It can't be found and I am devastated. I just want to go back home. I can still feel and smell him at home. He doesn't seem so far away there. I sleep in the bed with his shirt.
It's morning again and the anger is gone. Replaced by panic. I feel like a lost child, I can't function on my own. It's too much. I need help. I need someone stronger than me to walk me through this. I want to see him but at the same time I don't. I don't want to paint over that picture I have of our last happy morning together. I want to remember his eyes, his smile and the wink he gave me as he went out the door. At least let me keep that, I've lost enough. The pills take affect and the panic eases, I float through the rest of the day. I am there but I'm not, I convince myself that this is all happening to someone else, I'm just watching. God, just let this be over with, I want to go home! Too many people staring at me, too many questions, too much pain. I need to be alone, I want to be alone. I'm so afraid.
For months the emotions rotate between sad, anger, confusion, panic, guilt and fear. I'm sad because I have a lifetime of days without him and I can't change this. I'm angry when someone tells me to snap out of it or it's time to move on. I will know when it's time. I'm confused over what to do with myself, the house, his belongings. I panic because I have to make these decisions and I'm never sure I'm making the right one. I feel guilty for laughing or for enjoying anything. I'm afraid of the future without him. I'm afraid I will never feel happy again. I'm afraid I will never love again. So much fear.
Then one day I realized I had smiled without guilt. I felt the sun on my face again. I was no longer afraid and healing had begun. It never "got better" like so many promised me it would during those dark months but it did "get different". I can bring the memories out now and look at them with only the smallest twinge of sadness for what was suppose to have been. I still don't like when people invade those memories with questions, they are mine. I feel very protective over them and I don't like to share them. Maybe someday I will be ready for that, just not yet.