Posted by: shelliejelly | November 6, 2008

Same, same, but different

Sometimes, as happened when K. died, a subtle sadness settles over me without warning. Like a soft blanket, I can feel a lonely gloom brush against my skin. My mind’s manager silently slips from his seat and starts to project lovely moments onto the back of my eyes. The Christmas he proposed. The flowers he brought home. The feel of his hand in mine.

When K. died, between puzzling over bigger questions concerning where he was and what he was doing, I’d fall back into memories of us together. Because I understood he wasn’t coming back, I was relentless in cataloging my memories. The roughness of his hands because he worked as a mechanic. The paleness of his blue, blue eyes. The smell of the soap he used. His strong, lean build.

The experiences are completely different, but somehow some of the feelings are the same. This divorce, which came as a complete surprise to me, leaves me with similar moments of dread and nostalgia, separated by the fact that I can look my past in the face instead of simply call to him in my dreams.

There are days when remembering O. and I together leaves me confident that the decision to end our marriage is the only answer. And there are days, like today, where this complete and total separation seems unimaginable. I swing back and forth like a rogue pendulum that can’t control its movement, at the mercy of the forces beyond its reach.

And that is how I felt, too, when K. died. Some days I was bolstered by the knowledge that he loved me, inspired by my luck at having been able to know him. I could inflate my heart with the memory of him having chosen me, of us having chosen one another. The enduring belief that we were meant to be together lifted me up on my better days and allowed me to balance my sorrow with gratefulness.

Then, as now, there were also days that just bowled me over, stampeding across my back with the heavy hooves of desperation. I can remember begging to be able to have one last conversation with him. During these times, I would hole myself up and read books about afterlife written by people who claimed they have the ability to speak to the dead. I was determined to unravel life’s mysteries. I even illogically speculated that if I could somehow study the space/time continuum, I might be able to find a way for us to be together again. Grief warps expectations, as though sheer will, powered by pain, can make the impossible, possible.

Today I woke up with the thought of everything O. won’t be a part of any longer. No more helping my mom with Thanksgiving dinner or getting my dad through a computer problem. Like finding a way back to K., my heart yearns to paste these pieces back together or, more accurately, to forget they ever fell apart at all.

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