All of a sudden, it seems, there have been changes in my life pertaining to my grief for my life mate/soul mate. For about a week after the Fourth of July, I endured a heavy upsurge in sorrow, but in its wake, I have found a semblance of peace midst the sadness.
Saturday was his birthday, and I started out the day feeling almost upbeat, gladder that he’d spent so many years with me than sadder that he is gone from my life. I’d never sung Happy Birthday to him when he was alive, so I sang to him out in the desert, where no one could hear. (Believe me, you do not want to hear me sing!) I planned to get a cake, too, but sometime that afternoon, the sadness returned. Next year, perhaps, I’ll bake a cake to celebrate his life.
I’ve also had some stray thoughts that indicate a shift in my perspective. A couple of days before his birthday, I found myself thinking, “He beat the system. He’s out of it now.” I don’t know where that idea came from because he didn’t beat the system. He didn’t have to grow elderly, but he was sick for so long it seemed as if he’d skipped a couple of decades of middle age and went straight to old age. But still, he is out of this life. He won’t have to worry about the coming changes in medical insurance or any other such foolishness, won’t have to watch himself age further, won’t have to continue suffering. Wherever he is (if he is) he is safe. And free.
To a great extent, our life together now seems unreal. I’ve been trying to live in the moment, and in the moment, he is not here. I’m still sad, still want to go home to him, still yearn to talk to him, but wanting such things seems to speak more of longing than of recollection, as if somewhere in the back of my mind I had conjured up a mate and a life and time of togetherness. But the truth is, if I had conjured up such a fantasy out of nothing but loneliness, I would have created happier memories. Too much of our life together was steeped in sickness and failure. Still, there were joys. The astonishing beginning of our relationship when he was radiant with youth and strength and health, the electricity of our long-lasting discussions, the sweetness of our final hug, the beauty of his smile, his wonderful gift of appreciation, his vast courage, and his determination to accomplish something each day despite his waning health.
I came across these words today from “Remembered Joy,” an Irish prayer:
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
He stayed as long as he could, and it would pain him to know that his death brought me so much sorrow. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fill the void of his absence with only remembered joy, but I’m continuing with my life, filling it with new experiences, and for now that’s the best I can do.