Almost a year and a half later I still have moments where I cannot believe that this is my life. I still have moments where my brain cannot comprehend that he is actually dead. Gone. Forever. I sometimes have these out of body moments where it is just so hard to believe that the vibrant, full of life man that was my husband, is just not here anymore. I still have nightmares about that day. I still sometimes have nights of insomnia. I still sometimes get hit with an overwhelming feeling of saddness and lonliness-- no matter where I am or who I am with. Sure, these moments happen less and less, and at this point I live most days feeling pretty normal. But these moments still creep up on me.
I have these other moments where I cannot believe that this life I have now, is in fact my life. It is really hard to explain, because the opposite of my sad moments are these moments of pure joy and happiness-- and a feeling that this cannot possibly be my life. How did I get so lucky to find such love and happiness after such a short time since my whole life was pulled out from under me & taken away? This is just as hard for my brain to comprehend as is the fact that my husband is no longer alive.
For me, the options have always been very simple: keep going or give up. I, apparently, am incapable of giving up, so keep going I did. And as the days ticked by I found more and more that I wanted to keep going for. And as I found more and more things to want to live for, I have found myself living this whole other life. A life I could never, not in my wildest dreams, have imagined would have been my life. For this I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, but at the same time I feel an overwhelming sense of loss, almost moreso than when I just felt the pain of grief. You see, each day I get to have this new life, I am reminded of what the price was that I paid to get it. I cannot say if it is worth it or not, because it is just not something you can judge in that way, all I can do is be thankful that I have found the phoenix within the ashes of my former life.
Sometimes I worry about what the future will hold. For knowing what the pain of losing feels like, I sometimes ache thinking about experiencing that pain again. I sometimes want to desperately hold on to the moment and never let go. I can hope that I won't have to face this for a long, long time, but deep down I know that there is no guarentee. Everything can change in a single moment. So as happy as I am to have found my new life, and my new reason for living, it is precisely these things that bring me the most anxiety and fear, knowing that I could lose it all over again in a second.
Lately I have found myself reminiscing again. I have been packing..... packing to move again. And I am finally forced to confront some of the really hard decisions I did not want to make before, about what to keep and what to get rid of. What is left is the hardest stuff to confront-- neither fully sentimental, nor fully expendable, I have a lot of stuff that falls into this neither world of memories. It is stuff that reminds me of another moment in time, another life.... and yet the memory only exists in my head. Part of why I wanted to start writing this stuff down is that I often think about all these memories I have of my husband, and how I am the only person on earth that had those moments with him. And if I don't share them, then one day they will be gone, and so will the memories of him during the last few years of his life. For example, each piece of furniture I own, things we bought together, holds a memory. I remember picking the stuff out, or the trips to Ikea, or how he hauled the 150 lb. box up the stairs to our apartment in Brooklyn, or when we picked out the love seat while making our wedding registry, or that he died, on just that spot on our futon and how I can't bear to let go of the last place on earth he touched while alive.....
It really feels like I am living a deceitful, double life sometimes. Holding onto these memories, and keeping them close to me. Close to the point that I can't help but get choked up as I type this..... all the while falling in love with another man, and planning a new life with him. Sometimes I don't know how I can do it, and other times I don't know how he can--- how he can put up with someone that harbors these inner feelings and memories of another man, of another life. I love him more than I ever knew I was capable of, and yet..... would I give it all up for a chance to go back? Honestly, at this point I would say probably not. For whatever I used to want my life to be, and for whoever I used to be..... it is no more. I have made peace with that. I like who I have become better than who I used to be, and by that measure I feel my life now is more than it ever could have been before. That is not my husband's fault, nor even mine, it just is what it is and it is only because of the price I had to pay to be here. You see, for me, I had to lose it all in order to know when it was I had it all, and in order to most recognize how rare and precious what I now have is when it walked back into my life.