Yesterday I was walking quickly through the Seattle airport and suddenly realized that I felt like my “pre-Michael’s illness” self. I felt strong and confident and not terribly weepy or depressed. I didn’t feel like I was holding a bunch of tears at bay while I showed a public face which is how I feel just about every second of every day.

It was as I write about, when I write about grief, it was a glimpse…a short-lived glimpse…into integration and acceptance. Into what is possibly on the other side of this unimaginable grief.

I breezed through the rental car renting and the rental car trunk not opening and set the GPS and took off somewhat merrily.

While in traffic (I never knew traffic was this bad in Seattle…) I started to think about Michael and how there was so much I wanted to tell him…mostly about my day and my flight and a few thoughts I had about a few things. He lived in Washington state for a short time and I wanted to talk to him about THAT. I looked down at my cell phone. There was no one to call.

Normally, or what is the new normal these days, I talk to Michael all day long especially at home. I don’t know why, but I do. I miss saying the word “honey” a thousand times a day as I did when he was alive…. And so I chatter away all day at him, “oh look at this honey, this is a mess…” or “remember when I asked you not to do this honey [nail something to the garage walls] and now it’s here and I can’t get it down” or “I don’t know what to do with your boat honey. Tell me what to do with your boat honey.” Sometimes I open my eyes in the morning and say “Good morning honey” out loud. I miss it and I miss him.

When I was on the train-trip-from-hell back from Philadelphia last week, I started talking to this woman who was about my age and somehow we got to talking about Michael and his illness and death.

She leaned over close to me with big eyes and said, “Do you feel him? Do you feel him in the house?” and I shook my head. She leaned closer, “Has he come to you yet? Have you seen him or felt him yet?”

No. I haven’t.

I looked out the train window and thought if there was a way for Michael to come to me, to let me know he hears me, it would have happened by now. But I don’t feel him and I don’t think he’s there. If there was ever a “loved one” who passed who would want to be there, it would be Michael.

All the “honeys” in the world are not doing it. And if that doesn’t do it, nothing will.

And I felt defective somehow. Like we had this great love and it would be awesome to say he was still with me…but I don’t feel that and I don’t know that. I feel like every day I am confronted with the complete “gone-ness” of him.

I spend a lot of time on the weekends down the basement with his things…I am trying to get a handle on what is down there and what I need to do with them…but I also spend time touching them and trying to feel him through them…and I can’t.

I pull into the garage late at night. Very late at night…and I go over to his van where the window is open and I lean in and touch the seat and look around and try, really try, to sense him. If he’s not there, he’s not anywhere. And he’s not there.

I smell the pillow he had his head on when he died and I can’t smell him anymore. I stare at his picture hoping to feel some comfort…like he is there…but I just feel the huge, gaping emptiness.

And I feel like in the widow world I have somehow failed because I don’t feel him, because he has not “come to me.” The woman seemed profoundly disappointed that I didn’t have any tales to share. Like I was somehow responsible for that.

I used to call him as soon as I landed anywhere and would tell him about the place I was and what was going on there. I’ve traveled a bit since he’s been sick and after he died and I’m getting used to not doing that….and yesterday I felt a bit of bounce in my step when I got off the plane. An unusual long-missing bounce that used to belong to me.

And I was okay until I was sitting in traffic and kept looking at the cell phone and trying desperately not to call his number….and then I felt it…that soul-deep knife wound…and I started to cry. And I cried and cried. I cried for about a half hour and it hurt a lot.

I did have a glimpse of myself walking through the airport…stomping across the moving sidewalks and acting all New Yorkerish while I was doing it. It was a glimpse that someday I will be myself again.

And that’s good to know.

Maybe I haven’t felt Michael or he hasn’t come to me, but I’m starting to come to me…and that’s probably the most sure bet I can hope for…and maybe the most important.

Advertisements