Fourteen months ago I held your hand and told you it was okay to let go, that it was okay to leave. That we would all be okay. Fourteen. It seems like it is both a minute and ten lifetimes ago. The world is so different right now. No soccer, no races to run, no physical human contact. Everyone is hunkering down as best as they can, and your absence has never felt so raw and vast as it does right now.
I was supposed to be doing a virtual yoga retreat, and instead I sat on the back steps and cried. I watched an older couple walk the trail, someone else with their dog. The awareness that even if a couple is separated right now by having to distance and quarantine, they eventually get to (hopefully) see their person at the end of this is so heavy. Heavy because for me at the end of this, it’s still what it has been for fourteen months: the awkward stumble through the days hoping at some point I’ll feel like I am not making a big mess of everything. I won’t feel like the odd person in the group, the physical reminder of “the worst that can happen.” Honestly I don’t feel like that all the time, but the things that distract and do their best to fill that void are gone right now. I can’t travel, I can’t engage in the sports that carried me to you and through losing you. I can’t hug or touch anybody. So all I can focus on is that during this time, we should be in it together. You should be here, working from home, complaining about all the damn IT tickets you have to sort through, and you’re not. It’s silent. Unless I call someone or talk to the cats, no human voice fills this house anymore. And while before you I was used to that, now it seems so strange. My brain cannot accept it at times. It can’t make sense of it.
I have been doing things, lots of things on my own. Like yesterday, I weeded and edged the garden. I posted about it on social media. I post a lot of things on social media. Some might think it’s this need for external validation, and maybe it is a bit. Not for the obvious reasons. The truth is, I could share something that went viral, millions and millions could like and share and praise it, but it wouldn’t matter. None of it matters because the one person, the one voice I want to hear recognition from no longer speaks in words that I can hear. You are silent, and have been for some time.
Fourteen months. It seems so short when I think about the possibility that there are many clusters of fourteen months ahead. Is that how long it is going to take? Waiting for when maybe, if there is such a thing, our souls will reconnect again. I like to think you are sending people to me during this time, to boost and carry, to distract and heal. But, some days, it feels like there isn’t anything to any of this, and those days, like today, are really, really hard. This isn’t how it should be. And this isolation only emphasizes it.
I miss you all the time, Dan, but especially today, I miss you more. When I walked down the aisle, it was to a string instrumental of Incubus’s song “I Miss You.” It’s a bit of a weird choice for a wedding, but that version is so beautiful, and the first words of the actual song were something that resonated with how I felt with you in my life, every morning. It’s funny how now, knowing all that happened, the song is still very relevant. Very real. It’s been more than ten days, and some points I really do feel like I am wasting away. I worry how people react to knowing those things, knowing the deeper feelings. Everyone wants you to tell them what I said we would be when I was holding your hand that night: okay. And over all, I think I am. Most of the time. But when I miss you, when I really, deeply, soul-shatteringly miss you, I don’t know what okay means.
But I promise you, I will figure it out.