Today marks 18 months since I’ve last kissed my baby. That’s 1 year and six months. A year and one half. That’s a long time. It’s difficult to me to grasp how long, but I’ve lived it ever single day so I know it’s true. Yet it’s still hard to believe.
So much can happen in a year and a half. Many couples I know have had children. Many others are expecting now. Some have gotten married. Others have gotten divorced. One couple I know (through a good friend) has gotten married and is already separating.
For me, well, a lot has happened, too. I’ve explored the sea floor a number of times and lived to tell about it. I’ve spent hours on the back of a steel horse. I’ve played some gigs. I’ve taken up a few new hobbies. I’ve made some new friends that don’t even know her name. I’ve even been exploring the idea of being ok with what has happened. (That one is a little hard and I find I’m sensitive both from my own feelers and about the feelers of others.)
As for my relationship with my wife, well, I’ve missed her (and do still miss her.) I’ve been angry with her. I’ve cheated on her. I’ve thought about her a bazillion times, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying. But the smiles are more frequent than the tears these days. Sadly, in general, my smiles lack depth and staying power. These recent days, I just don’t seem to have a lot of oomph. I’ve asked before, but is this just the way life was before I met her but I just didn’t know any better?
I find my days filled with a kind of “ok, so what?” feeling. It’s very dingy grey. My daily regimen is filled with “because this is what I do” blah things versus “Whoo! Let’s do this!” sparkly things. In my speech to Maggie that early morning in the snow when I asked her to marry me, I told her that she made everything sparkle. It was so amazing to me – she did! As of today, it’s been more than 11 years since we were not a “we.” I hardly remember life back then. Was this what I meant in my speech? Was this the way things were and, subsequently, are now? Well, crap… sucks.
It’s hard. But how can I possibly complain now? I’m so conflicted. For the last 18 months, I’ve not been watching someone I love so, so much being tormented like when it all started, back in January 2007. How sick is this?: While she was so… uncomfortable, I was so selfishly happy that she was still here with me. Now, she’s gone and not suffering. Yet I am so sad. I guess this whole experience has been an exercise in contrasts:
– We were so perfect together we had to be ripped apart.
– The day she died, I was so happy.
– She’s not suffering and yet I’m sad.
– I’m moving on yet she is still very present in my life.
I’m probably using different scales of measurement on different problems. It’s likely the whole centimeters/inches problem. Or maybe it’s a decibels/megabytes issue.* Maybe, were I in a better state, I’d be able to tease out the specific emotional striations. Right now, they all seem to blend together. Blah is me. I am blah. Life, therefore, is blah. Blah.
* There’s no connection between decibels and megabytes. That’s my point. I’m mixing together unrelated issues while beating myself with a measuring stick. Not fair to me, no, but hard to escape.
That all said, the last few posts of mine, hell, even maybe the last few MONTHS of my posts have been pessimistic at best. And for that, I’m sorry. My life has not been all sulfur and scorched earth. In fact, my last few months have really been some of the best months I’ve had in years. The overall peaks have been lower but the average has been higher. Not having to watch my wife die certainly drives up the overall average pretty easily.
I’m rebuilding. I’m still not sure who I am or where I’m going but I’m growing more confident on both of those fronts. In the last very few months, there have been moments where I was completely there, in the moment and living life, happy and even sharing it with my wife. They are few but they are happening: in Mexico experiencing an amazing underwater scuba adventure-land surrounded by many schools of thousands of fish in a shipwreck 80 feet under the sea, today on HWY 360 crossing the big bridge on two wheels with much throttle in amazing Austin weather, watching (or maybe listening) in slow motion as we, the band on stage, crescendo into a wall of cacophonic anarchy as the lead singer shouts back at me “Lead cello? Who does this?” These are the moments that are irreplaceable. These are the moments that sit like bricks solidly in place that are beginning to form the foundation of the rest of my life. This is me rebuilding. This is me, 18 months later.
Let’s add one more contrast: How do I celebrate her?… Us?…. By moving on.