Delayed Impact

October 28, 2005

On Monday it will be three weeks since Michele died. Just twenty-one days chronologically but a lifetime for me. The first week I numbly moved through the activities of notifying friends and family, arranging her memorial service, and existing.

The second week I returned to work. Having routine and structure helped me to keep going. I made a list of chores and errands and doled them out each day like carrots on a stick. Most of the things I accomplished were done through physical memory, there was no real attachment mentally or emotionally to the world around me. Having my cats there helped more than I can possibly say. At times their total acceptance of me was hard to reconcile with how miserable I felt, but knowing that I had to care for them helped me through some rough moments.

This week I have again relied heavily on routine, chores, and errands to get me through the days. I am afraid of the evenings and weekends now, they are unending periods of emptiness and loneliness to be endured. Last weekend I wanted to spend money like crazy. I wanted to by a new cell phone, toys for my computer, and movies. I wanted everything and nothing at the same time. Some part of my mind knows that having new things in my life won't fill the hole where my heart used to be, another part just wants to anesthetizes everything so I don't have to feel at all. I suppose I am grateful that I am not into drugs or alcohol, I could do some serious damage to myself that way right now.

I've been setting up future events to occupy myself and to give myself reason to look ahead. In a couple of weeks my brother is coming out. Since he is good with computer setup I am thinking that weekend would be a good time to dig out the old Intel boxes and set them up. One of my friends here is trying to setup a weekend away trip - camping somewhere.

Thanksgiving will be very hard. I don't have time off to go anywhere, and I am not sure I want to travel then anyway. I discovered one of my oldest friends has family here in Kansas City and she and her family are coming here for the holiday. They are going to stay with me. I am planning on making a pot of spaghetti and a chocolate cake for them Wednesday. I haven't a clue what I'll due that Thursday while they are at her brother's house.

Christmas terrifies me. Michele's birthday was the 24th, and she dearly loved the magic and warmth of that time of year. Last season we were both depressed and didn't decorate our apartment for various reasons. This year we were going to setup our tree and some lights, and our collection of Santas. I am determined to follow through on that plan. But the thought of having to go through the Christmas season alone is more than I can really take in today.

In January I am thinking about going to see Ted and his family out east. It has been years since I was there and having that to look forward to over the Christmas/New Year's holidays will give me something to focus upon.

I am realizing that earthquake of her death has setup aftershocks of varying strength and intensity. Some days I don't react to anything, other days I am moved to tears by something as simple as seeing my cell phone and knowing she'll never call me again. The ground is shaky here, the path ahead uncertain. All I can do is to breathe in and out.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.