You're In My Space

November 12, 2005

This weekend marks a full calendar month since Michele died. It is hard to believe that she has been gone that long. There are times when it feels like she just died, times when I don't believe she is gone and I expect her to be here, and times when it feels like forever since I last heard her voice, or touched her.

She was the first person who really fit into my space well. I always felt comfortable with her, and I grew to crave the feeling of her hand in mine, or the warmth of her next to me in the night. I realize that as a part of the minds defense against trauma that I still haven't fully incorporated her loss. I have had the space we shared here in the apartment all to myself for 30 days. By rearranging the furniture layout I've claimed the space as mine. By keeping her things here so far I've kept her here too, in spirit if nothing else.

This weekend my brother is here. He arranged to come now instead of initially as he was aware that after the initial period of time when friends return to their normal routines, that I would be facing long weekends alone. When he suggested the idea I thought it was a good one, and I have looked forward to his visit ever since. Still it has been odd to share my space with another person. Not that I am complaining, but it is different than what I had with Michele. And it is different from what I have started to expect on my own. The two cats have filled a huge void for me, having them here has been a lifesaver. Literally.

I think the hardest part for me now is not having a place to share the toils of the day. One of the parts of our relationship that was so special was that we gave each other a safe place to fall. I could tell Michele anything, express what ever emotion was figure in the moment and it was okay. She knew how to listen without judgment, without trying to fix it. I really miss being able to talk about work or my fears to someone who will just listen. Too often people want to take care of me by fixing the problem. Just do this, they'll say. Or say that. I know how to care for myself. I know how to fix my problems. I don't need that kind of help. All I need, and what I miss more than anything, is that safe place to fall.

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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.