It hasn’t escaped me that I haven’t written in the blog since 2014 – seven months and eleven days since Derek’s death. I think little about anything else. As others move about their daily movements throughout life, I am painfully, acutely reminded of his absence, our loss. It is brutal and there is nothing that lessens the pain.
A good friend of both Derek & I recently asked me about my belief in religion since Derek’s diagnosis and death. I faltered at answering his question in the moment. There is so much that I could say about my sense of love, spirituality and connectedness to one another. But I can’t speak to religion.
I can tell you that this loss has profoundly shook my faith – in humanity, in any belief, in my own purpose, in any God that would allow such suffering, in fate and in our greater purpose. It has profoundly changed me.
On my iPhone I have a picture of our family on my screen saver. I have to input my password to get to the main screen. Derek is there with Gabe, Emma and I, smiling and happy. I remember the day that picture was taken. It has been two hundred and twenty three days since August 10, 2013. I still can’t sleep. It is a day before for most people (a mere two hundred and twenty two days). I don’t live like that anymore. Derek gave me a preview of what that was like when he was on the vent. He counted in hours instead of days. I will never forget when he held up his fingers forcefully to tell me how many days he was on the vent because I was counting days vs. hours.
I can only remember bits of what it felt like to be happy. It seems like a dream that you can’t quite remember when you wake, just a remnant of a feeling that you had for only a brief moment of time. You struggle to get that back, to remember but as you move towards the day, you lose any fragment of the dream until finally, it is gone.
When I met Derek I had never felt truly happy. I struggled with depression early ever since I was a child. But with Derek, I was happy. And while I’m not disillusioned to believe that one person can make you happy, I do know he was my person. He was the person that could make me laugh so hard that I would cry, that when I met made me feel like I was the only person who existed, that I felt safe with more than any one person on this earth, that I could tell anything to and he still loved me, that he would do anything to make me feel his love, nothing that I wouldn’t do to feel his love, make him happy, make his dreams come true, go to the ends of earth… .
The beauty is I had that, even for a brief moment in my life.
I wanted to tell my friend something easy, something simple, something absolute. But there was nothing that I had learned over the last year and seven months that made me more absolute about anything. In fact, I was even more uncertain that I had ever been. I wanted to tell him there were no absolutes; nothing that you could count on. I wanted to tell him not to take life for granted, live life to the fullest. I wanted to tell him to love those around him, don’t let a single minute slip by. I wanted to tell him that life is short, don’t blink. I wanted to reassure him that it would all be ok. But all of these sounded like cliches, not at all what he had asked me, not what he really needed. They were my truths, perhaps nothing of his.
“Happiness is just outside my window”. The Fray