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''To My Dead Husband"

June 30, 2017,

Darling,

A year has gone by without you by my side. After 35 years of being one with you, I spent the last one year collecting the stray pieces of my soul you left in your wake. I haven't finished yet.

Losing you was getting my skin peeled, breathing smoke, and falling into a dark, endless pit. All at once.

People come and try to console. They tell me 'time will heal everything', 'he is in a better place', and 'you should move on...'
So easy to say. Move on. Like 35 years of my life never happened. Like a life time of memories can be erased with a few tears. Like your death was just limited to a body turning to dust. How do I tell them it wasn't only you that died? That there are some kinds of pain that time cannot heal. That some deaths lodge themselves like blunt knives in your ribs, right below your heart. That moving causes pain but staying still hurts more. Waking, walking, laughing, eating, looking out the window, watching tv, sitting still and breathing....the pain is ever present. You just to learn to contort your mind and body till you find the spot that hurts the least.

But it's still there. It's there when I wake up and open my eyes to an empty pillow where your head should have been resting, your mouth slightly open till I gently close it. It's there when I see a single coffee mug in the sink. Or in the supermarket when I push my trolley alone. It's there when I come across an inside joke and remember there is no 'inside' anymore. When there is no one to lean on or into. When I am curled up in bed, crying into your shirts, thinking what I wouldn't do for one more hug and another kiss....but letting myself dwell on that is to push the knife further in, till I risk losing myself to the never-ending, soul-crushing cycle of what ifs and if onlys.

Dearest, my grief is without recourse or relief.

Your scent was mixed with mine, my habits were yours, our quirks had become one. And then you were gone. In that instant I regretted each fight, forgot each difference, yearned for a little more time so I could disentangle myself from you before it was too late. So it would hurt a little less when the time finally came. But, too late.

Beloved, I am learning to live again as our grandson takes his first step. We walk together. We fall, we cry, we rise.
Hopefully, I will arrive. Soon.

All my love, now and always.

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