There are those moments, early in the morning, when I am pulling myself out of the sleep that is induced by sleeping pills, when I look up and he is laying next to me. Somewhere in my mind I know it is not true, he is not there, so I hold myself, trying to cling to the image, knowing if I reach out it will be gone. But then it is gone anyway.
We were college loves, we were each other's first.. first everything. We broke up, and years separated us, but I never stopped loving him, I always looked for him, and then we found each other. He had always looked for me, and we were together. I had left a horrible marriage. It was like, I was suddenly blessed, I was happy for the first time in years. We loved so passionately, but so completely. Now was our time, we were going to buy a house, and we were going to be married. We were each other's first, we were each other's last. We were meant to be.
Then in the cruelest twist of fate, he is ripped from me. A diagnosis of cancer and death eleven days later. There was no time to do anything, he promised to fight, but the disease was too much.
The pain is overwhelming, I cry all the time. I have people coming all the time to try and help. They strangle me with their help.
I don't want to know who you know that has cancer, I can't feel someone elses pain, I cannot stand my own.
I hear I am intelligent and strong. But they are wrong, I was, now I am broken. I am Humpty Dumpty, and all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put me together again.
I don't want to hear I will be happy again, or I will love again. I did love, I loved completely it will never be again.
What I have learned is that my time is different from everyone elses. My time has stopped. Everyone else moves, and they do not understand why I do not move with them. I do not understand how they can move when he is dead.
I am learning to hide in the face of everyone. I make sure the hair is right and the clothes look good. If the outside picture is ok, then people don't want to push into the inside.
I have been paying rent on our apartment, but I can't go clean it out. I cannot walk into the place we lived and loved. I thought I could, but I cannot. I cannot open drawers and look at his carefully folded socks and underdrawers then sweep them away. Lucky for me my daughter said she and her husband will go clean it for me.
So I put on my mask, and I pretend to move, but beneath it, I scream in pain. I want to be alone, I can hold him in my thoughts, I can cry.
I put one foot in front of the other, that is what they say, time heals. No, it doesn't, it gets worse and the numbness and shock wear away, the darkness grows.
What I know is that I cannot do this without him.