It started right before our anniversary, on the 23rd of November… I just was overcome by an aching and a longing that I had not experienced for a while. In fact, on some parts of some days in the past couple of months, I thought I was truly moving on…really moving on. But on the 22nd, I sat in my office and sobbed for the better part of 2 hours. I cried in the car on the way home. I cried myself to sleep. I cried in my office the whole next day.

And new/old things started to pop out at me. Suddenly I was painfully aware, once again, of the commuters being picked up by their loved ones. It had taken me so long to get over that, and I honestly thought I was over that.

I still can’t take the train because I see him no matter how long it’s been.

I want him there.

Waiting for me.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Michael showed up 45 minutes early to wherever he had to be to pick someone up. He didn’t want anyone to have to wait for him. He wanted to be there when they arrived. It was one of his “love is an action” actions. To him, having someone waiting for you was an act of love. And he did it for me and all the kids. And I knew, when he was alive, how much it meant to me. It wasn’t something I appreciated after he was gone. I appreciated it so much when he was alive. I’m just not sure I ever told him.

Once, right before he got sick, he fell asleep and forgot me. I actually got into a van that looked like his, never thinking it wasn’t him. I was shocked when I got in (probably not as shocked as the lady in the driver’s seat). But more shocked when I got out that he wasn’t there. I called and called. And then I called and he was on the road and he was irritated. Very unlike him. That was some of the stuff I was puzzled about right before the reason for it became horrifyingly clear. But before that summer he was the most dependable person on Earth. And I did appreciate it when he was alive, but now when I drive off the parking lot, I see the people waiting because their ride is not there yet. I think to myself “Michael would be here.” He would.

When I was taking classes early in our marriage, I had a night class on Tuesdays. I used to feel so lonely between the end of my 3 pm class and the start of my 7 pm class. I wanted to go home and have dinner with the family but the drive was over an hour and the later class didn’t end until 10 pm. I couldn’t do it.

So Michael started to drive me back. It became a Tuesday night thing. I would go to class and he would go to sleep in his truck. I would come out and he would be dozing against the window. And when I tapped on the glass he never failed, not once, not ever, to smile at me when he opened his eyes. I miss meaning that much to someone. I miss being loved in the very real and special way he loved me.

And we would go to get something to eat in Chicopee (MA). And after we saw the movie Nell we would call it Chickobee in the same accent Jodi Foster used in the movie. I still say it in my head when I drive by on the Mass Pike.

So much of that faded for a while. The commuter thing vanished completely for a time. Lately I look at them (or try not to) at the bus stop. Michael never even brought me to this bus stop. It’s been 2.5 years since he picked me up or dropped me off anywhere and I can’t go near the train station or the bus station where he picked me up or dropped me off.

He never dropped me off or picked me up at this one. But we talked about it because he fished in the lake next to the stop. We never got to do it. But, even so, when I see the lights on in the cars waiting for their people and I walk what seems like an impossibly long trek to my cold and dark car, I break down and cry.

This is new. Since the anniversary. I don’t know. The ache is big and raw like this all just began. And it’s been soooooooooooo long. so so very long.

I’ve just been beginning to catch up with how this has changed me. How deeply and completely the experience has changed who I am and I am still kind of clawing my way back to my used to be.

Not that I can ever be what I used to be, either before Michael or during Michael. I’m on my way to a new me and it’s exhausting.

I spent a lot of time with the photos from our last weekend. So so grateful I took my camera. But my heart is so heavy when I look at them.

I think it’s the holidays too. I think that I just want to wake up in April. Not even January or February or March. April.

April would be good.

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