In the last few months, I have taken swimming and guitar lessons. Throwing myself into activity and learning new things are some of the ways I am coping with grief following my husband’s passing away. Within this same time frame, I have also put out a body of work, a five-song EP that I had started working on before he died. I’m very proud of myself for putting in all that effort to make this debut project come to life. I’m especially proud because I did it in spite of the grief. I knew he would be especially proud of the work I had done: he was my greatest fan and the wind beneath my wings.
After all the work that went into recording sessions and photoshoots, I woke up one day and the EP was done. It was now out of my hands and dependent on factors out of my control. Yet, I was still mentally uncertain. I wanted to get busy, but I couldn’t do anything. I was too tired. I wanted to put myself out there, network and make more connections, but I couldn’t follow through. I was too frightened, even to the point of anxiety. I wanted to play with my son, but I couldn’t bear his noise. I was too irritable. I wanted to be held and taken care of, but I couldn’t lean on anyone. I was too brittle.
Suddenly, I had nothing to hide behind anymore. That was when it hit me afresh that my husband was gone. I was stunned. I knew he was gone, so I was surprised by my surprise. Why was it news that he was gone? I was there. I registered his body at the morgue. I heard his will read to me, making me executor of his estate and giving me full responsibility for his final rites. I picked up his death certificate. I oversaw the preparation of his body for burial. I chose his coffin and the vault where he was buried. I was there.
In the months since he passed on, I had explained to my son every other week that he couldn’t see his daddy because “his body got tired.” I had gotten used to doing certain things that he had always done for me. I had no illusions. I KNEW he was gone.
So, what happened??!
I’m still figuring it out. All I know thus far is that I can’t stop thinking “you should be here.” When I get positive feedback about my music, or our wedding anniversary rolls around, “you should be here.” When a new door opens for me, or my son’s personality brightly shines through in a witty or silly joke, “you should be here.” When I’m irritated by some mundane issue that I would have whined to him about, “you should be here.”
And so far, that’s the hardest part of it all.