Still Hard to Believe

“I can’t believe this is how it’s gonna be,” she said.  It was one of the last few things she said to me.  I still can’t believe it either.  What a tragic, premature end to a life with such enormous potential.  It’s just so, so difficult for me to get my head around.  As I reflect on that moment, scratching willingly on still-fresh wounds, I can’t help but wonder how she felt and what she was thinking.  We were so open with our feelings and communicated so effortlessly throughout our relationship. Yet, at a time when the emotional volume was turned up much, much louder than ever before, we had so little ability to share.  It breaks my heart.  Still.

I’ve played out that scene over and over.  Each rewind is punishing, yes, but it’s not a memory I shall give up easily.  It’s still very white hot with emotion and likely a vein of deep meaning that I’ll mine and smelt for years to come.  It’s so, so hard to let go.  It’s even harder to let go when the brain just doesn’t want to believe it.  I just don’t want to believe.

Suppers alone force me to believe.  Missing this evening was her snickering at me for cooking too much food.  “You can’t eat all that,” she’d say to me.  Well I showed her tonight because I did!  So there.

Days spent alone force me to believe, too.  The calendar we shared on Google would magically fill up.  Weekends and weeknights overflowed with event after event, many times overlapping at locations across town.  Or maybe I’m just overly sensitive to the deafening silence around the house and it just seemed like we were always doing something.  Even the simple days and nights we spent together were just so pleasant and filled with sharing that cooking supper and watching TV was an event.  An event made just for two (and puppies.)

Used to be that items would magically move around the house or new things would appear.  Now, the only things that move are things I touch or are just about dog-nose height.

On the bright side, the laundry load has been cut in half.  Oh, I’d happily fold a lifetime of laundry if it would change anything.

A good friend commented a week or so ago that since she wasn’t typically around Maggie all the time that it seems like Maggie’s just away on vacation.  The absence isn’t so loud for her.  For me, it’s deafening.  The only thing that seems to quiet the noise is being around people.  It’s odd but true.  Maybe it’s just a distraction.  Bring on the social engagements.

Complicating social matters further, I find I’m far, far out of sync with the rest of our married-with-children friends.  If I’m going to reboot Chris, it’s probably going to be with some never-knew-Maggie friends.  That’s tough to think about but I suspect it will play out to be true.  Of course, they won’t be a replacement for my already great friends but merely an addition.  So, I suspect I’ve got a lot of finding-new-friends to do.

On a related note, Miss E and I have cordially parted ways for reasons unrelated to Maggie.  I’m very pleased to have met her and appreciate the opportunity she gave me to carefully dip my toe into the dating waters.  I’m especially pleased that Miss E was so forthright, understanding and patient with all things Maggie.  It was a great first tiny step.  BTW, she finally read part of this blog but only the story about how we met.  She thought it was quite funny.  I suspect that’s as far into this rabbit hole she’ll ever go.  But I’ve been wrong before….

Miss E will also be the last person of interest I’ll write about here.  The whole who-I’m-dating-and-how-it’s-going topic is just too fraught with landmines and nuclear explosions to bring up again.  I think I’m lucky to be able to close this chapter out gracefully.  Let’s end that on a good note.

I’ve been quite lax with the postings lately.  I’m not one to apologize for lack of posts but, frankly, my days have been quite uneventful.  I’m sticking with the workout routine.  I haven’t been going out much.  Blah, blah and more blah.  I am trying to find some outlets for my social needs but as of right now I’m living a very boring, drab life.  And I really don’t think multiple posts about my reflections of how sad I am to not have Maggie around would be very interesting.

15 thoughts on “Still Hard to Believe

  1. I still check on you to see how your doing.One thing nobody can take way from you are your memories…that will keep that smile on your face and cover your heart with that special feeling only Maggie could give you.Smile because it happened.One day at a time, that’s all anyone can do.

  2. I still check on you also. Even though I don’t know you, I lost my husband to cancer so in some ways we are allies. I think writing will help you through the grieving process. It’s a journey that you have to walk through and your blog might be the best way to do that.

  3. We’ll be in Austin Labor day weekend so plan on hangin’ with some of the “old” friends!

    Bummer about Miss E but it sounds like it was for the best. Take care, bro. We’ll see you soon.

  4. Chris, just take one day at a time.

    I agree that you should not write about anyone else on here because this is Maggie’s blog, your life with her and it is your heartwrenching journal of your life with her.

    You made us all fall in love with her, and while doing that we all fell in love with you too. The kind of person that you are.

    Everythiing will come to you when you least expect it.

    I wish you nothing but the best in your life for you. God knows how you deserve that.

    Sorry if I sound mean, I have all the best intentions, but sometimes I am just at a loss for words and maybe put things the wrong way.

    I hope and pray to God for your healing and for you to write a new blog, one all about happiness.

    With love and respect,

    I am sorry if I said something wrong, please forgive me.

    1. Mirjana-

      You have absolutely said nothing wrong or mean. Don’t concern yourself any longer about such things. As Terri once said, this is an open forum and I welcome comments and discussion (other than those that are hateful, those that are obviously trying to stir up attention and a few other categories that I won’t digress into right now.) Thank you for expressing how you feel. Your words are welcome here.

      With your suggestion to keep the blog focused on Maggie, you’ve put your finger right on top of one of the toughest struggles I live with right now. Just as this blog was all about her and my life with her, the last ten years of my life was all about her and our life together. And I liked it that way. WE liked it that way. It was the way it was supposed to be forever. My writing about Miss E didn’t fit into the Maggie-and-me pattern and it didn’t seem right and you wanted it back to the way it was, back to just me with Maggie. Well, exactly! I want it back to the way it was, too! But I can’t have that. WE can’t have that. Instead, I have to take uncomfortable steps forward that take me further away from Maggie-and-me. Every step I take I feel that same angst you felt. Every time I think thoughts that divert me from my beloved Maggie-and-me path it hurts. Thoughts like “Hey, I’m lonely and would like some company.” Or “Gosh, these coats in the closet are never going to be worn again.” Or “I’m paying $120 per month for a phone that’s not being used anymore.” I can’t turn around in the house without something like that slapping me in the face. All those thoughts hurt and don’t fit. But it’s change that I must embrace, sometimes hour by hour.

      I guess in a way, by writing about Miss E, I had the unintended consequence of sharing with you even more of how I feel. But instead of directly describing it in a story, the story itself produced in you that same panicked “wait, this doesn’t belong here!” feeling I get every day as I try to move forward, one hard decision at a time, as Maggie-and-me becomes just me.

      1. Mirjana and Chris –

        My father is dying from an inoperable brain tumor (and lung cancer) and it won’t be long before my Mom will be feeling this same feeling. I’m scared for her!! They were together for 41 years. How will she move on with just her?? I don’t know, but I want to help her move on. So Chris, please keep writing about your life and how you’re moving on. I read every post and right now I need your help.

        I think Maggie would have been glad that you met Miss E. I was glad for you. Like Mirjana said, we have all fallen in love with you. And, I want you to find that “head-over-heels” happiness again. I believe you will because you’re just too awesome of a man to not share yourself with someone else equally awesome. Enjoy dating!! And pray for the right girl to come into your life. She will.

        love and hugs and blessings!!


        1. It’s hard, really hard to move on. One day, one hour, one minute, one step, one breath, one second at a time is sometimes all you can do.

  5. You know it is hard for me to write on your blog. To be so open for the world to see is really not my “thing”. But here I go…From someone who spent countless days with Maggie I find her lack of presence in my life deafening. She was the person I called when I was happy, sad, bored, lonely, excited or just wanted to smile. My life still moves fast as ever because I don’t know how to live any other way. But don’t confuse that with me not noticing that one of my best friends is gone. On top of that her husband who is also better known as my “surrogate husband” (inside joke between Maggie and me) needs to start a new life. Be who you need to be, do what you need to do. Always know that we will be there for you when you want us in your life, or need us in your life.

    With love and respect,

    1. I have to agree with Denise…I also don’t usually write on the blog but instead go straight to the source if I have something to say or ask. There isn’t a day that I don’t think of Maggie and wish I could talk to her. This week is ok…next week may not be but that is grief. We all want to be there for you Chris, some way…some how.

  6. I too check your blog daily to see how you are doing. This blog started as an update on Maggie’s condition and yes, we all fell in love with the pair of you but it has developed into so much more. I for one want to hear about the new friendships in your life and the new adventures waiting for you just ahead. I just know that you will find happiness again!

  7. (((((((Chris)))))))Thank you so much. I did not sleep all night thinking how dare I say something like that.

    All I want is for you to heal and be happy now.

    This blog is 100% yours right now and of course I will be happy to read all good things in it. You deserve that and so much more.

    Thank you for writing to me. People sometimes don’t understand how we can get attached to people that we have never met in person, but it is true.

    I for one am hoping that everything that your heart desires will come to you.

    They say the sun shines after the rain, and you have been through a storm, so I am praying for a lot of sunshine for you.

    Love always,

    Thank you for understanding me…thank you.

  8. Hi Chris-
    You don’t know me but I’ve been profoundly impacted by your blog in so many ways. Too many to explain, but I’m pretty blown away by it all…

    First, I have to thank you for sharing your “beloved” with us. She seems like a pretty amazing person and is a lucky girl to have you. I’m so sorry for your loss. It seems like we were all robbed.

    You talk about putting this blog into a book. I have to tell you, I personally think your book started on May 4, 2009. Your entries are different than before; they are now about hope, survival, sweet memories, and lessons learned from the not-so-sweet ones. You have an amazing way of describing situations that, I think, many people can relate to but don’t know how to verbalize. The story about the tires is one I can picture myself doing in my mind and laugh, your letter to Amy is pure emotion, everyone has a moment when music speaks to them, and your discussion with cancer is just flat out brilliant.

    Anyway, I was just compelled to say hi and let you know you have a fan in Ohio. I’ll be the first in line to buy your book!! 🙂 I wish you all the best in your journey.

  9. I admit… I don’t pop in here much anymore. Your grief is so real, so raw… and I am afraid I may be there some day soon. However, you are a wonderful person and loved your wife so dearly (and still do, always will). The amount of comments to each post is just a representation of how many lives your blog has touched. We have all learned and grown with you on this journey called cancer. I pray that you will continue to heal and discover what your new life holds for you. Peace.

  10. Chris- the woman who ends up loving you will always KNOW and EMBRACE that there will always be 3 of you in that relationship. Thank you for sharing! It was/is beautiful!…and thanks for the bags! 🙂 (explain THAT to anyone who follows up on this! HA! HA!)

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