The last 30 months of my life have consisted of hanging on by a thread. They have been the darkest days of my life. Perhaps, the most disheartening adjustment of all is wearing a mask in order to appease others. One heartbreak after another fills my days, one tragedy after another just continues. I think one of the most sobering moments occurred when I realized that I could drink milk out of the carton if I wish. I was pouring myself a glass of milk when it hit me. I spilled milk everywhere when I fell to my knees. That realization hit me like a brick. I…am…alone. I do not want to drink milk from the carton or eat food from the container. I want to set out two dishes and two glasses for milk. However, I never will. I will never again experience the simple of joy of pouring a glass of milk for someone else. What is it the kids today say? Fml—fuck my life. Yes, I believe that is it.
People permit you a short time to grieve, believing that you will recover and become yourself in a couple of months. They do not understand two things about losing the love of your life. First—you remain numb for a long time, possibly up to a year. You are breathing, eating and sleeping, but you are numb. The finality of the situation does not sink in immediately at burial. After the first year, it slowly begins to sink in that the person you love is not coming back and then the depression becomes a part of your soul. After the second year, you realize that you will be alone for the rest of your miserable life. It is then that the widow or widower reaches out for understanding and receives none. “It has been so long, you should be over it by now. We gave you time to grieve. Now you must let it go.” Yes, I have actually heard those words.
As I approach the 30-month mark of death (I died on that day too), I have reached a point in which I just wear a mask for the public. They do not want to hear about the way the little squirrel I braked for reminds me of the time Doyle yelled at me for slamming on my brakes without looking in my rearview mirror. They also do not want to hear about how this song or that song reminds me of something Doyle did. What they want to hear is praise for their endeavors and encouragement for their problems. Fml. It is what it is.
The fourteenth marked 30 months since I heard my husband say, “I love you.” I had to fasten my mask so tightly that morning to ensure that I did not mention what the day meant to me. I held the tears in until I was alone. It is remarkable how many tears one can shed at one time. If I could save them all, I would have a lake home. I did not think I could cry any more than I did on New Year’s Eve. I was wrong. I can cry that much and even more. I no longer drink milk.
I am so sick of people whispering that I am suicidal because I miss my husband. I pray that those people never experience what I have and learn the truth. Yes, I have my family—I am fortunate to have my parents and I have my children. I love them all. It is a different type of love. I wish people could understand that. Doyle and I were married for nearly 20 years. We were inseparable. We made love; we did everything together. I do not know how else to explain the difference to people. Kisses, hugs and sex will never be in my life again. Apparently, that bluntness is required to explain the difference of losing a husband and losing a grandparent. I am sick of people whispering behind my back “it’s been over two years, but she doesn’t handle it very well.” Really? I work 10 hours a day, I am a full-time student who graduated summa cum laude for my AA degree and have made one ‘B’ while earning my BS degree. I take care of my home and my yard. I do everything I am required to do and more. What the hell do people want from me? Do they want me to say, “Oh, Doyle’s dead and buried so I think I will just forget about the last 20 years and pretend it never happened.” They hope for that in vain because I will never pretend that my love meant nothing. Fuck it—I’m putting my mask back around my heart to make everyone else feel happy.
©2012 Relinda R.