When you left, my world stopped. I was surprised when the rest of the world didn’t follow suit.
When you left, nature blessed me for a while: with numbness. The trees looked different, the air felt wrong, but again, nature blessed me for a while: with friends and family who held me up.
I was paralyzed at first. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, but people kept bringing me casseroles (bless their hearts), so most of the casseroles went uneaten.
It seemed I spent more time and effort comforting others, than they, me. They said: You’ll get closure, time will heal, in time the pain will go away. They meant to comfort me, but I could tell they struggled for their words. I smiled brittle smiles, returned brittle hugs, and did my best to be a good host.
Their words were wrong. There is no closure. And only partial healing. In time, I just learned to live with the pain differently. I learned to cope with the pain, better. The pain became only a dull, aching background noise. The pain became a reminder that love never really dies. The pain reminded me, many years later, that I’d had the courage to love, lose, then love again.
The most difficult task after you left, was giving away your things. I buried you with your wedding ring on, because I wanted something of me to always be with you. I slowly went through your bureau drawers, your closet, your side of the bathroom cabinet, your jewelry, your toolboxes and other garage stuff. I smelled your cologne and your clothes. I didn’t know it then, but I was beginning to heal. Grief knows no time limit, no “normal” time frame, no “normal” process. It takes as long as it takes. Gradually, in my own time, I was able to give away or donate most, except the most sentimental reminders of “us”.
The hardest thing to give away, for some odd reason, was your boots. They represented everywhere you went, every step you took, everywhere you’d been on this earth. It took five years to give away your boots. But I did. Finally, I did.
The day I gave away your boots was a good day, though bittersweet. On that day, I released you to the gentle care of the universe. The day I gave away your boots, that was the day you really left.
©Janet Mitchell, November, 2011.