I was on 9th Avenue in New York City today and I have no idea why, but the idea of Michael being dead, actually dead, hit me like a pile of bricks and my knees physically buckled. People looked at me but, being New York City, no one seemed too concerned.

I thought about our relationship and what I thought about it was that I never thought about it. If I was out (as I was today) and about, I just enjoyed wherever I was knowing that Michael was enjoying whatever he was doing. We used to have a dictate, “If you can’t do it in front of me, you shouldn’t be doing it.” And, except for him sneaking smoking which I caught him at ALL the time so I guess it counts for doing in front of me, we just adhered to that principle.

It came about early in our marriage (I think we were married or just about ready to be) when an old trucker buddy of his sent him internet porn (couldn’t believe Michael was on the internet so he sends porn…nice). And I blew up and said it was disgusting and it was not to be in my house and if this was the sort of thing he wanted to do well then he better find somewhere else to live.

The very same day an ex-boyfriend contacted me and I sent a few emails back and forth mostly to let him know I was attached, but to be honest there were some nyah nyah nyahs I wanted to get in there and I was pissed at Michael…hence the “back and forth” emails.

I can count the number of serious arguments Michael and I had on one hand, but this was one of them and very early in the gamem. It was of the “you want to look at that, we’re finished” and “you want to talk to your old boyfriends, we’re finished.”

We were both pretty adamant about our respective positions.

So after we calmed down we sat and talked (again, I can’t think of more than a few times Michael and I ever “talked” about our relationship, after the first year there was nothing to talk about).

And we came up with the “If you can’t do it in front of me, you can’t do it.” And we were both satisfied.

So there wasn’t anything I had to think about when we were apart. And we both enjoyed our time to do other things.

When I was out and about I always brought him home something to eat. It could be a half of what I ate, leftovers or something I ordered just for him. And when I came in, his face would light up. It was Christmas morning. And then on Christmas morning we hardly ever exchanged gifts. We gave to each other all year long and we really didn’t do Christmas or Valentine’s Day. How content do you have to be in a relationship to go “eh” about those things? Very content. Very sure. Very happy.

And my biggest gift to and from Michael was that “not thinking about our relationship” — to be that comfortable and secure and loved that you just go about your business. Even when we were living 1500 miles apart (and when we moved to California it was 3000 miles for a few months), it was just always there: the comfort of the relationship.

We never once said, “We need to talk.” We never once said, “Are things okay between us?” We never once said, “Is there a problem we need to talk about?” Never. Not once. No drama, no navel gazing, no nothing. It was all good.

So there I was, on the streets of New York City in the rain, with my knees buckling and tears streaming down my face. Even though it was raining I’m sure people could tell I was crying. I couldn’t stop it. The person who made me feel loved and wanted and secure (after 39 years of NEVER feeling secure) is dead. DEAD.

And I futzed around for a while and then later stopped to get something to eat. Food for one. How often in my life I was perfectly content to order for one or to go to a restaurant alone. But now I hated it. I started to peruse the menu looking for mussels or some kind of fish for Michael but then I realized he was dead. DEAD.

And I wondered how many times can I say dead in my head. And how many times can it seem so unreal to me. When does it ever sink in that the person who loved you the most in this world, in your ENTIRE life, is dead? And not just loved you more than anyone else, but more than everyone else all put together.

How many times does it slap you and buckle your knees until you’re like…right, I get it. I get it.

Michael died 11 months and one day after his seizure which started the nightmare. Since he’s been dead almost 3 weeks I’m having anniversary grief on top of new grief.

I’m alone tonight. The house is so quiet, so empty. After months of having company every single weekend–the boys were here all weekend, every weekend–and there were hospice nurses and caregivers during the week. I can’t believe I even miss the oxygen machine and the noise it made.

There is a big empty house and I am in it. Alone.

I stopped at Petco on the way home and bought $190.00 of cat and wild bird food. Yes, I’m going to become the crazy cat/bird lady.

Before Michael got sick, when he would do something silly, I would say, “You keep this up and you’re going in the Home.” and he would laugh and repeat it. Sometimes he would beat me to it and say, “I know, I’m going in the Home.”

After I came out of Petco with my red eyes and insane amount of birdseed, I shoved the seed into the back of the truck and I thought to myself, “You keep this up and you’re going in the Home.”

And I got in the truck.

And laughed til I cried.

or cried til I laughed.

I’m not quite sure which one.