My husband Peter died four years ago. How can that be? Four years and counting; treading steadily through the muck of grief. Even though it seems like a long slog, when I look back at these four years, they have bizarrely flown by in an instant. This is the dichotomy of grief. It can seem like an eternity but if you look at the big picture, time flies by in a second.
As the marker date of Peter’s death rears its ugly head, I go into the typical tailspin of angst. My sleep is disrupted, my head is foggy, and I fall into a semi-trance of anticipatory anxiety, not knowing where to stow my feelings for safe-keeping. Yes, I am aware that the date is looming large and haunting me with its slightly-blurred focus. My go-to salve, which alleviates the intense ache of this marker date, is writing. So, I go to the computer and analyze my emotional state, in an effort to make sense of my anxiety. I know, there is no way one can make sense of grief, but my mind functions in a way that is assuaged by more information and knowledge. Writing has proved to be a way to sort things through as well as provide a modicum of comfort.
When I ask my addled mind “what is the greatest fear I have of facing this marker date” I have to dig deep. I discover lurking below the veneer of “I’m OK,” that I am afraid I will forget his face in my mind. Viewing photographs is not the same as the vision I have of Peter, alive and kicking, coming through the door each night with a broad smile across his face. Visions are different from photos. Visions are stored in your brain and bring both sorrow and pleasure in a joint emotional apparition. If I lose this vision, will I lose the love we bottled together to make us happy?
I miss the audio portion of this story as well. I miss exchanging our thoughts on the day. I miss his wise counsel. I miss our conversation at dinner. I miss talking about movies and television and politics. But most of all, I miss the laughter we shared. OMG, I miss his laugh! Insert tears!
I miss the trust and intimacy that was unspoken between us. I was unconditionally loved and worshipped by Peter. I treasured and adored him unqualifiedly in return. I never had a moment’s fear of rejection. The trust we shared was unadulterated and solid. The loss of tenderness is particularly painful.
I know that I have to face this marker alone. The date resonates with my son, but the loss of a soulmate is a loss that must be endured by the one left standing, although sometimes sitting might be safer! When an epic love is ended, it continues only in the mind of the beloved. I have to keep my mind clear and know that I can retain our love in my heart. The visions may be shadowy and indistinct, but they are etched into my heart. I am the keeper of the flame of our love. Our love did not die with Peter. Our love, and the joy it brought us both, will continue through memories, visions, sounds, and tears as long as I draw breath.
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