I wake up and he is not on his side of the bed. As I brush my teeth, I stare at his prized razor and brush. Grabbing a mug out of the cupboard I note that it is from Annandale High School. I sit down at my spot at the table and have no one with whom to discuss the day’s news. As I recycle the paper, I notice his Hayfield letter jacket hanging in the closet. I drive to work in his car and pass the sushi restaurant he enjoyed and travel the same route we drove together when we taught together all those years ago. Even at work, I wonder how he would react to a situation or person. Sometimes I suppress the urge to make a comment that involves him. Other times, I share away. Everything reminds me of him. Everything.
On days when I am feeling strong, the memories are welcome and reassuring. Other days, I feel his loss so profoundly with every step that I take. I have fleeting thoughts of moving or redecorating or just escaping for a while. None of these is the right answer right now. There are days when I DRAG myself to work and, in the end, I am happy to be there- distracted and busy. I turned on the tv this weekend and caught the end of the movie The Way Way Back. And I sat on my bed and cried. We both really enjoyed that movie.
Dave comes to me in my dreams the way that Snuffleupagus visited Big Bird. I am the only one who can see him. Last night we were standing in line at the grocery loading our items onto the belt when he asked me if I had made an appointment for some test. I assured him that he had already had that appointment. When I woke up I was left wondering, if we had done things differently, if the results would have been the same. I am not much for “what ifs” so I let go of that thought almost as quickly as I had synthesized it.
There are moments of most days that I will think of him out of the blue. In my mind, I see him during those last few weeks, and I still can’t believe how it all went down. Tears inevitably fill my eyes as I shake my head in disbelief. So, if you were wondering how that whole acceptance thing was going, it’s not.
It’s Monday again. I know exactly how many weeks it has been. Thursday marks the fourth month point since I last saw him and held his hand and whispered to him that it was okay – that he didn’t have to fight anymore, that we loved him, and that it was time for him to rest, that we would be okay. And we are okay. As okay as you can be when you are left with a Dave-sized gap in your life.