Usually you think of an aftermath as being something you experience after an unpleasant experience. In fact, dictionary.com defines aftermath as:
It’s been a softer year this year.
The pain hasn’t been as intense.
The longing hasn’t been as intense.
And most importantly, I haven’t spent the past month or so fighting my brain. Suicide hasn’t been an option.
For the past 4 years, my brain has been telling me that suicide is an option around this time of year. This year? That hasn’t happened.
I’ve looked towards those further out in this journey than me to see how I might react as days and months go by. 2nd year was harder than the first just like they said. Things got harder and easier, just like they said.
But around 5 years, it seems that widows and widowers start to diverge. There’s those who are still grieving hard and then there’s those for whom it gets softer.
That’s not to say that those who are grieving hard haven’t moved forward, some of them are remarried and some are still alone. And for the ones who it’s gotten softer, they are either still alone or remarried. There is no hard and fast rules. It just comes down to a matter of there being some who are grieving hard still and some for whom the grief has softened somewhat.
And for me, things have softened.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have days of ugly cries. I have moments of tears leaking down my face while I’m almost unaware of it. I have days where the pain is still so intense I can’t breathe.
But those days are further apart. Those moments happen less often. And the pain doesn’t last as long as it used to.
So here I am. June 26. The day he died 5 years ago. Getting ready for work.
And this is what I mean by softer.
Every other year I have been unable to function. This year… I’m going to work with people who will trigger memories and tweak the pain. This year, I did not take the day off like I normally do.
This year… I’m living.
He is never far from my mind. His name is said on a fairly regular basis. He will never be forgotten as long as I live, as long as my children live.
He died. It devastated me. I almost died with him (there’s an actual study on that. People DO die of a broken heart!)
But this year I’m living.
This year I’m going to go care for people who may or may not have the chance to go home. (Some do, some don’t)
This year, I’m going to love the hell out of anyone who needs it.
This year, I’m going to lean into the man who has embraced ALL of me, and offered me a future.
This year, I’m going to say his name, watch the memorial video and then roll over to snuggle my Sexxy Chef and get some sleep because I have to go back to work tomorrow.
I miss him, terribly.
Mark W. Smith
May 18, 1963 – June 26, 2012
Life is not as brutally painful this year. But today? Today has still been a sad one for me.
I got up, took the Sexxy Chef to work. Got my stuff together and drove and hour and a bit to play some roller derby.
I had mini grief storms that I maintained control over because I wasn’t alone in my car.
I sucked it up and skated.
I ignored my feelings.
I got home and there were people in my house. People I love, people I’m excited to spend time with, but people, nonetheless.
They all finally left about an hour ago.
And now? Now those feelings are locked up and stuffed away and I can’t access them anymore.
I miss my Dad.
I miss my Mark.
I hurt for them not being here and being able to see my amazing grandchildren.
The little man was here and he wanted something from me and he said “Ta” asking for it.
Mark always said Ta. It’s an English thing apparently.
And I was sad that he wasn’t here.
And my Sexxy Chef was exhausted and lost in his own head so not connected to me in a way I wanted to but couldn’t ask for because there were people here.
And so… at the end of Father’s Day…. I am alone in the dark, writing a blog about how I miss them.
Happy Father’s Day to you both. I know at least one of you came to visit today… I hope that you’re both at peace.
I love you both.
Things aren’t as bad as they were last year. The pain of missing him is still there, and the grief storms hit on occasion, but I don’t have that overwhelming depression.
Things are better.
Things continue to get better.
There has been no cutting nor has there been a desire to cut. There IS a desire to not do anything or go anywhere, but I’m committed to doing things and so therefore… I do them.
I’m not dying inside. I miss him. But it’s not killing me this year.
Almost 5 years… and I’m doing okay this year. So far.
I’m writing this a day early.
You see, tomorrow is your birthday. But it’s also date night. And while it’s your birthday, you’re DEAD and I have date night with my LIVING fiance.
I had to think this morning. I had to count the number of years you’d been gone vs how old you were when you died in order to remember that this would have been your 54th birthday.
It’s not that I don’t miss you – I miss you with every fibre of my being. It makes me cry when I stop and think about it. I keep myself so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think a lot of the time. I don’t want to miss you that much when I’m snuggled up to him. I don’t want to be laying in bed with him and wishing it were you.
I don’t want to be sad about you and have him make jokes to cheer me up when I just want to miss you.
I need those things to be somewhat separate. I need to miss you when I miss you and love him when I love him. They do intersect – he’s freaking amazing when it comes to my grief over you.
But there’s a shame, a guilt about missing you when I’m so happy with him. I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being you – but I don’t want him to be you – I want him to be him.
But it’s YOUR birthday tomorrow. My 5th without you. My 6th without you at home. Actually my 7th without you at home – you were with Wade on your 48th, remember? You spent that birthday with Wade, the next birthday in the hospital and then you were gone.
Happy Birthday my Forever 49 Love. You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered.
I don’t remember the feel of his skin.
I don’t remember the way my arm rested across his chest.
I don’t remember the way he held me close.
I don’t remember the way he felt next to me.
I don’t remember the hardness of his penis.
I don’t remember how it felt to have him enter me.
I don’t remember.
The tactile memories are gone.
I don’t remember how it felt to hug him.
The only thing I remember is how it felt to kiss him and I don’t want to lose that as well.
I’m almost 5 years out. It’s been 5 1/2 years since I last held him outside of the hospital.
And I don’t remember what it felt like.
4 days ago, it was the 19th anniversary of Mark telling me he loved me.
4 days ago, it was Valentines day.
I’m not big on the “hallmark” holiday that is Valentines Day.
He loves me… he tells me daily. He shows me in the little things he does. I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love.
I have our anniversary.
I have the anniversary of the day he first told me he loves me.
I have those little days and moments and memories.
And now I don’t share them with him. I remember them. I remember that on the anniversary of the day he told me he loved me, he told me “Happy Anniversary” 5 years ago. Only 4 months before he died.
I remember the day he told me… how everything in my world tilted on it’s axis.
And I have my Sexxy Chef who works on Valentines…. so the day for us is fairly meaningless. We did have a dinner a couple nights before, he gave me the most beautiful purple rose, and he gave me some chocolates. It was sweet, romantic and amazingly beautiful.
But Valentine’s Day? I spent a couple hours being sad. Remembering Mark and the love we shared. Missing him. Missing the connection we had.
I love him still. I always will.
February 14 is a day on the calendar. It’s also the day he first told me he loved me. But it means nothing in terms of the hallmark holiday that generates so much income for local businesses….