This week has been such a roller coaster. Since I moved out here to the West coast, so many good things have been happening. I’m meeting new people, getting connected with networks and resources, just generally becoming part of the community here.
It’s exciting and fun.
And still, running underneath all of that is such a deep, pervasive sadness. Knowing that the work I do now is happening only because my love died. Knowing that the people I’m meeting now, the friendships and professional relationships I’m building, are happening only because he died. If he were here, other beautiful things would be happening. If he were here, my life would be so different.
And I miss him here, in this life. I miss him here to celebrate all the neat things happening. I miss him here to discuss the next adventures, to try out new things, to explore and to grow and to meet.
Last week, I went to Home Depot to pick up some fencing for the yard (our dog sees no difference between his play area and my garden). Every time I find myself in Home Depot, I remember why I don’t go there often. Matt was a builder. We spent many hours wandering the aisles of our local HD. The smell of wood, sawdust, and paint knocks the wind out of me like almost nothing else can. It brings him back in such a visceral way. He becomes real again, a three-dimensional man again. And because he was real, because those sensory cues remind me of how real he was, it slams into me again that he is gone.
I can’t get through Home Depot without crying.
The successes of this week, coupled with that visceral trip to the hardware store, have left me with a residual sadness, that undercurrent of pain I mentioned above. That he is not here to share this new life with me. That he won’t get to meet these people, or see the work I do. That the smell of fresh-cut wood that used to be him is no longer him. There is no more discussion of our lives, together. There is only me, missing him here.
These are the things that the non-bereaved don’t understand.
When the one you share your life with dies, they die in a million different places, in a million different ways.
They aren’t just missing from the life you had. They are missing from all the life that is yet to come. They are missing in the new backyard, in the new office space. They are missing in the hallways and corridors and aisles of everyday life.
That loss is pervasive, and reaches beyond just the present or the past. It’s not confined to time.
What I hear from people further down this grief road is that that missing never stops. It softens, it becomes an ache, rather than a shooting pain. But the missing doesn’t stop, because love does not stop. We miss because we love – backwards and forwards in time, stretching in all directions, mixing with the beauty and even the joy of new life.
Life will go on, because it does, and love will go on, because it does.
And these things will remain entwined: love and loss, missing and new adventure. Life and loss, side by side.
How about you? Are there places in everyday life that bring your loss home to you in visceral, staggering ways? What are some of the million ways the one you love is missing, here in this life now? Let us know in the comments.