I’ve just moved, and my new closet is too small to hang up all your clothes. All mine hang there filling the closet as though complete. No evidence of anyone else having ever shared this space with them. You’ve never existed in this closet.
I go out to lunch with our friends. Everything is as it has always been, except that the chair next to me is empty. At later lunches, there’s no longer an empty chair, like you were never part of our group. I’m not sure which is worse.
The shower is filled with flower-scented body washes and pink razors. There is one toothbrush on the sink. The toilet seat is always down.
Old friends don’t speak your name for fear of upsetting me. People I’ve met since losing you don’t know your name.
Every time a piece of you disappears, it feels like I’m walking away from you.
Like when I walked away from your body in the hospital.
Like when I traveled to another country without you.
Like when I sold our house – the first and only home we bought together, the one we raised our kids in and welcomed our daughters-in-love into.
Like when I sold our car.
Like when my experiences with God no longer look like the ones we shared.
Except for our stories.
Our stories make up the bridge that stretches across the chasm, that connects our then with my now.
Like when you asked me to go steady in the parking lot of our high school, and you gave me your class ring to wear on a chain.
Like when we made our first purchase together – our wedding bands. Together they were less than $300; we had to finance them.
Like when we moved to Texas, and arrived with our tummies as empty as our checking account. We got our first meal in Texas at a restaurant, and hoped the card would go through – we had no Plan B.
Like when we made the decision for me to quit work to stay home with our boys knowing that it would take 98% of your income to pay our monthly expenses.
Like when all three of our kids were born, the last one the best anniversary present ever!
Like when we could hardly scrape together $10 for a new pair of shoes for our kindergartner, and when you could buy all your new iThings outright.
Like all those tournaments through the years where you kicked so many butts (and got your butt kicked a few times) earning trophy after trophy, and belt after belt, and when your cancer body lacked strength to open the jelly jar.
All of your stories, from before the ‘I dos’ until the final good-bye, are always and forever interwoven with mine. I will hold them close to my heart, and share them whenever anyone will listen.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
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