Monday, January 27, 2014

The tangibles left behind....

Certain dates still give pause, and as much as I hate commemorating this day, this is certainly one of those dates that will never be erased from my memory.

It strikes me now, four years out, that Mike is more and more stuck in the past. People he knew, and who knew him, have been ever moving forward. You don't only need to look at my own life, but his nieces and nephews have all grown to the point that I barely recognize them.... friends have moved on and up in ways I don't know if he could have imagined. Babies have been born. New jobs have been found. People have moved around, gotten married..... you see, those of us who were left behind have all picked up the pieces and have continued to live. Mike hasn't. Mike still exists in January of 2010. That was the last time that he was able to move forward. I am only further reminded of this fact when I look at the things he left behind. The objects I've kept, photos, and other memories.... they are just that. Memories. Each one can bring up a new and rich memory, and it can instantly transport me to a moment in time. But the moment ends, and that is all I have left. The object and the memory.

I think it is ok to let ourselves go there from time to time. It brings a sense of comfort -- to be able to look at something that meant so much at one time or another, and to just let ourselves remember. So here, I've assembled the things that bring me the most of those memories, the things I keep with me no matter how much my life goes on. I hope that they also bring all of Mike's friends and family a moment of comfort as well, and maybe a few memories of your own.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


"Home is wherever I'm with you" -- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

Sometimes I get homesick. Not homesick for a place, or even for a person, but for the way things used to be. Now don't get me wrong -- there is nothing about my life now I would be willing to trade for the world.... I have a beautiful son and a loving husband, and there is no way I would give any of that up. I accept the fact that in order to have them in my life, I had to lose my old one. But I am allowed to still miss it, sometimes, right?

But I can  never go back. You know how it is when you miss a place, maybe your hometown, or a place you used to live and so you go back to visit? It's not the same, never the same. Sometimes reality just makes your memory less sweet, less fond, as if the reality takes away the way your mind has made that place to be. Sometimes I feel that way about my old life. I remember it in a way I sort of suspect it was not, not really. If I sit and focus on the details I still recall reality, or at least my version of reality, but I still think that time has softened it. It's like looking through the world with a soft focused lens in a dim light.... the light is still there, but some of the harsh details are melted away -- you can't see the wrinkles on someones face anymore.

I find myself sometimes wandering back there in my mind.... remembering things I used to do, conversations I used to have with Mike, places we used to visit. Just simple things, like what we would do when I came home from work, and how that was. It stands in really stark contrast to how things are now -- and I wonder what life would have been like if he hadn't died. I guess it's only natural that the mind wanders there. It's hard, actually, to imagine away my current life and think about what I would be doing instead. Would we have had any kids? Would we have finally got a house? Where would we be living? I don't know. My mind lacks sufficient imagination to fill in any of these details -- all it seems to be able to do is conjure up memories. I guess that's what my old life is now, memories.

And so when I do allow myself these little moments, I get homesick. I don't know why. I just know that even if there was a way to go back, that it wouldn't be the same, because I am not the same. And maybe that is why I get homesick.... because I know that not only can't I go back, but because I also don't want to go back. And that is perhaps the hardest fact I've had to accept on this whole roller coaster of grief. Maybe it's a real sign of healing, maybe not, but as people before me have said, "It is what it is." Let's just leave it at that.