After many weeks and months of agony that life seems to have become I decided to take a vacation. The last time I tried to take a break just a month after, it was an emotional disaster. My grief was so raw and intense that I hardly remember anything.
Now after close to six months, I took a break and found that not much has changed. The pain is as intense as it was then, the only difference is that I’ve learned to hide it better in the company of others.
I came prepared. My only goal from this trip was to see my little boy have fun with the other kids in the group. The fleeting moments of joy came from seeing him laugh and shriek with happiness . That itself made the trip worth it. As for myself I was just very tired of being at work and being at home falling into the dark abyss of her absence.
It was by no means going to be easy and I knew it well. Coming on this trip with other couples and families, seeing this place full of more of the same – happy families and couples enjoying and living the life we once had. Every time I saw a couple walking hand in hand it reminded me of us, of how much I had lost.
I have countless memories of such trips. She packed so many of these into our twelve years together that they have become like jewels in the beautiful necklace that was our life. Everything reminds me of her here – the beautifully done rooms, the two chairs in the sit out, the misty rain in the mornings, the elaborate meals and specially the desserts.
She would ensure we had so much fun on vacations that we would be almost heart broken when it was time to go back. She would build it up in the weeks before – talking about where we were going, how much fun it would be, what we were going to see, where we would stay.. Everything.
And when we were there, it was even better. Looking back I realize how much happiness she emanated just by her presence. Today everything exists but she’s not around and that makes everything appear worthless. I don’t seem to care if I’m here or when I’ll go back. It doesn’t seem to matter.
The hotel room, the bonfires, the food, they scream at me reminding me of my loneliness. I walk the beautifully laid out paths and run into other couples enjoying each others company and the pain exacerbates. They seem to be living our life, the one I can’t have back.
As I said, I have learned to manage the pain and yet it still feels very raw, as painful it was in the first few weeks. I defy the pain and it defies any pleasure that comes my way. There is simply none in anything – not in the beautiful mornings here or the fresh forest air or the sumptuous food, simply no happiness or contentment in anything.
It cannot be because I have to accept that the loss is too great. The very foundation of my life is gone. And yet in the middle of this sorrow there is a satisfaction that our Son is happy being here. I know how much that meant to her. She wanted to hold his hand and show him all the beautiful sights that this world offers. She lived every moment of this dream when she was around.
I can never forget her words “there’s so much more to see, so much more to do”. It reverberates in my mind when I’m feeling down. I owe it to her to find meaning in a life without her. I feel lost, heart broken and filled with sorrow. Sometimes every step is painful and yet I know I have to carry the pain and keep moving forward.
I cannot say I’m missing her a lot today because I was missing her a lot yesterday too. I have so many things to tell her, I walk the beautiful paths here thinking about her and hoping she’s listening to my thoughts, I see her everywhere – in the misty rain, in the flowers, in the fresh breeze, in the wilderness around. I believe she’s with me and always will be though I would have really wanted her to be actually here with us.
How do you get over something like this? I’m told that life goes on and it does for everyone else because no one can feel her absence as much as I do. She was so alive that even after all these months there seems to be a defiance in me to believe she’s gone. Maybe it’s her way of saying “I’m still with you”.
“I wonder if that’s just how it feels to miss someone so bad – like being stabbed in the gut a little bit, each time you think of them.”
― Kate Ellison, Notes from Ghost Town