It’s funny how your perspective changes over time. For the past eight, almost nine, years I have viewed Monday with a certain depression. Monday meant that the weekend was over, my uninterrupted time with Michele was over until the next weekend. Before I met Michele, and before she moved into my life, weekends were something to be endured. I was socially introverted and more comfortable the painful isolated existence I’d setup for myself than with breaking down the walls of my own making in order to be with other people.
By the time I was in my mid thirties I had developed a highly structured routine that filled the empty spaces in my life with activities or planning for future activities. In the words of a friend of mine, I was a human doing not a human being.
Michele changed all of that. She was spontaneous where I was carefully charted and planned. She was resistant to routine just for routine’s sake where I was comfortable ordering the same dish from a restaurant every time I visited. She always took the unexpected and unplanned as a sign of life, I always viewed it with trepidation and fear. Over the course of our time together I slowly learned to be adventuresome, spontaneous, and open. One of the greatest gifts Michele ever gave me was the safety of her love. It was never judgmental or critical, she placed no conditions on my behavior. I learned that it was okay to be outside the box.
With her death just three weeks ago I am once again plunged back into a world where weekends are vast empty wastelands of time to be filled. Evenings too, are voids were before there was enjoyment and purpose. I have worked hard to continue my daily activities as I know she would want. I allow myself to be flexible about what to eat and when, about where to go or to not go. I know that I have been filling my time with chores and errands simply because I don’t want the quiet where she used to be. Eventually I will be ready for that quiet, eventually I will be strong enough to express the pain I sense when I acknowledge the emptiness she left behind.
For now it is all I can manage to move forward through the day, eating, working, sleeping, and existing. The shock of this event is still wearing off and I know that the impact of her loss will continue to impact me for a long time to come. But I also know that I am taking care of myself, husbanding my emotional, mental, and spiritual strength for the long dark days ahead. The thing that would disappoint her most would be if I reverted to the hermit like half life I had before I met her, and I do not want to disappoint her.
Acknowledging her contribution to who I am, recognizing that I was able to grow and evolve as a result of the love, compassion, and generosity of her heart, gives me the courage to face each day. She showed me, by forcing me to see who I really was, that I am strong, that I can be “normal”, that I am worthy of love, respect, affection, and peace. Honoring the process I began when I pursued her all those years ago means that I will continue this life, that I will continue to grow and evolve, and that I will continue to allow myself to be loved, respected, cared for, and at peace.