Last Friday marked four years since I watched the man I married slip away. Leave me. I watched the lights go out.
I decided to bury his ashes instead of keeping them. At the time, it felt creepy any other way. I designed a stone. Chose the rock so that it would sparkle when the eastern sun peeks over the cornfields and river bluffs. I took our children out to see their names carved into it and to trace the triangle design that used to be the tattoo on his back.
I see my own name there, too. I am constantly surprised. I shouldn’t be. I put it there. I am surprised that this was my life. I signed that paper to deny life support. I knew what was coming. And yet…I am still surprised.
I am not the widow who sits at the stone or uses it as a place for meditation. I chose the location poorly if that was to be the case. I have only these words on this little blog. Sometimes I think he’s looking over my shoulder as I write. Sometimes I think he has his hands on my head; he is wishing he could hold me.
Or, maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
I’ve taken the first few baby steps toward getting on with my life. Nobody told me I had to. Nobody said it was time. Nobody has ever thought I was dwelling in the past or that I should get over it.
But from somewhere inside, I got a nudge. A voice that said, “It’s okay. It’s time.”
And I fell in love. Again. And it is a good thing.
There is something disconcerting about crying in the dark because you are still somewhat haunted by the memory of one love…and being held and comforted by another.
Later that very same day, I was working. It seems I am out of my fat pants more often than not these days but I was working on putting a once-larger than life country artist on stage. And while the voice is enormous, her personality was less than impressive. Disappointing, for sure. But, say what you want, the girl can sing. And the middle of the set contained one of my favorite country songs: Probably wouldn’t be this way. It is one of those songs that we can all sing to. And we have.
But the words…how is it possible for this woman to sing these words as well as she does? I listened to her sing them and felt almost betrayed.
I probably wouldn’t be this way
I probably wouldn’t hurt so bad
I never pictured every minute without you in it
Oh You left so fast
Sometimes I see you standing there
Sometimes I feel an angel’s touch
Sometimes I feel that I’m so lucky to have had the chance to love this much
I guess that’s why I’m surprised. I never pictured my life without him in it.
And yet…here I am. Here we are. The girls and I. We have been without him for four years. Seems like yesterday that I put his wedding band on my index finger. I have never taken it off.
Not even when my fingers lace into a new hand. Not even when we plan for our future together. And I think over and over again about how every day seemed like the hardest day ever. And then the next one was worse.
Until it wasn’t.
And here we are. Four years later. And I’m still surprised. I see the picture of his stone with my name on it. And I’m still surprised that that name is mine.
And now I hear my name said in love again. And I feel arms, real arms, wrapped around me.
And it still surprises me.
I never, ever pictured my life like this.
But, then again, whose life resembles the one they pictured?