Twenty Minutes

July 17, 2006

Since my marriage, and until her death, my whole life, was centered around my relationship with Michele. I defined who I was, and measured how I was doing, by that relationship. To have it wrested from me suddenly and without warning has left me adrift, I have no grounding upon which to stand.

Now that I am attempting to reconstruct my life several things are happening all at once. Tonight I am feeling overwhelmed by all the change swirling around me. I can't stop crying. I know that the release is needed but it is so hard to get through.

I am trying to discover who Mark is today. The Mark who was single in his twenties and early thirties no longer exists. He was largely unhappy and isolated, and, no matter what appearances were, not handling life very well. The Mark who was married grew into a good man, a man who respected himself, and a man who grew to like and appreciate himself. Losing his wife, losing that which he had centered himself on, ripped this new Mark into pieces. Some of those pieces are lost forever in the swirling maelstrom of events that have transpired. There are parts of me that existed only in the reflected emotions from Michele; those are gone forever.

Other parts of me remain, good parts, strong parts. But there isn't a cohesive whole yet. I haven't discovered who this adult man is, or who he can become. It's like living with a stranger. Old habits no longer satisfy and new ones sometimes surprise me. I actually ate a sandwich I'd never tried before, in front of a stranger, that had tomatoes on it. I've never had a sandwich with tomatoes on it before in my life. Not only did I not have a throat incident, I actually liked the food.

What used to be down is now sideways, and yellow is green. Nothing makes sense and yet everything has a new clarity. You don't have to look hard at my eye surgery to find symbolism. Since I'm now a new person, I need new eyes with which to see the world.

Climbing up from the bottom isn't hard. You just keep looking up and moving forward. The hard part is the exposure to hurt and the risk of getting knocked back down. Taking on the search for new relationships through eHarmony is hugely risky. I could find myself in a position where my feelings are battered once again. Or I could find myself in a place of happiness and joy once again.

One of the pieces that survived the cataclysm of my wife dying is the need to talk, to share my thoughts, to explore me. Often times we would sit and dump all the pent up fears, doubts, worries, and concerns to the other. We called this "twenty minutes." Meaning, I just need you to listen, not to judge, condone, or solve. Just listen. For anyone who reads this ramble and thinks, "My God, he's off his nut!", please know that this was just my twenty minutes. Thank you for letting me spew randomly, I feel better now.

Author's profile picture

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.