Today is hard. Yesterday was hard. I expect the next few days to be slightly uncomfortable. You see, one week from today, we were supposed to be married. We had chosen this time of year because one year ago today, he proposed to me. So you must understand the headspace earthquake going on in my head: the past was so spectacular, the future is no longer what we had planned, and the present is in trying to figure out if Insidious 2 or One Direction’s ‘This is Us’ will be better in getting the past and the future out of the head.
I suppose it’s all for the best; we were going to have a camping wedding in Yosemite so with the current Rim Fire going on over there, I suppose it’s God’s way of saving our guests a lot of money and a lot of smoke inhalation.
In my head I often say, “Well, what can you do?” with a mental shrug. It’s my way of trying to accept it all… as you can see, ‘acceptance’ is slow but it’s coming but it’s not always what I feel.
I had lunch with a friend who looked at me as I was laughing at some story and said innocently, “So, have you grieved for him?” My eyes narrowed with a questioning look back at her. I suppose from her outside perspective, I’m okay. I am still rock climbing and running, I am meeting friends for happy hours and posting pictures on Facebook. I am working again and I am making new friends and building my community here. I still laugh.
But I know she doesn’t see into my heart where all the grief still lies. I feel pain when I see people walking hand and hand down the street. In my mind, I reach out my right hand to feel my fiance’s, and I will myself to remember just how he held it, his finger position and the level of moisture in his palm. I pass by a clearance bar at a garage and it says, “Clearance 6’6″ and I nostalgically muse that he would barely be able to walk under that bar.
And motorcycles? Every time one passes me on the freeway, I pause a little, and imagine it was him that passed me… even though the motorcycle was all wrong and the helmet the wrong color. I remember the hours I spent on the back of his motorcycle; how we figured how to carry food for potlucks on it, how the smell of hot asphalt and his worn leather jacket mingled, how my stomach squeezed anytime he split a lane and how I always thought, “He’d never do anything stupid to kill me on his bike.” And then the reality of ‘That’s not him’ hits me and all I can do is pray that the motorcyclist makes it home to his loved ones tonight. All those thoughts in a matter of a single second.
That’s where the grief lies. It doesn’t lie on my face as much as maybe it did before. I know I didn’t cry at the funeral which made some people wonder if I felt it at all. But it’s there. And from what I read, will be there for the rest of my life… just changed. Hopefully to nice scar tissue that will allow me to once again believe that love might still be part of my path. I dunno, I can’t see that far.
All I know is that I’m not getting married this week. But I am a widow in my heart.
I gently smiled at my dear friend who asked the question, and I say simply, “I grieve every day,”…. and change the subject.